Chestertown, MD, August 28, 2006 — Monika Weiss, assistant professor of studio art at Washington College, will unveil her multimedia installation, "Drawing Lethe," on Saturday, September 9, at the World Financial Center Winter Garden in New York City. Assisted by Washington College art majors, seniors Amanda Boutwell, Lindsay Merhige, and Emily Willie, Weiss will step into her creation and invite visitors and pedestrians to become part of the live public art performance.
"'Drawing Lethe' is an environment created by the act of lying down on the ground in an area covered with white cotton and drawing around one's body," Weiss says. "The experience will be accompanied by a site-specific sound composition which I created. A video projection connected to a camera suspended from above will show live images from an aerial viewpoint as the drawing unfolds. As I am lying on the ground over several hours, people will be able to freely enter and exit the space and become part of its unfolding."
To create the space for the drawing, Weiss and the students will sew sheets of white cotton together to cover a 120-by-130 foot area of the Winter Garden.
"Since it's a public space even during the several days of preparation, pedestrians will be able to witness the growth of the white canvas—a fluid experience just like the unpredictable web of black lines that will result from the marks left by people's presence inside the drawing. That act of 'sewing the image' from smaller fragments is as important to me and as relevant as the drawing itself."
The installation's title, she explains, refers to Lethe, the river of forgetfulness in Greek mythology, and is a metaphor of being outside time. As people participate and pass in and out of the drawing, the white landscape will remain constant while the video camera captures an environment in constant change.
"I welcome the feeling of flux and ephemerality but at the same time the image itself will remain defined, a sacred place with people's silhouettes continuously going in and out of it," Weiss adds. "As people enter the site to lie down, it has yet another meaning because of the context—Ground Zero visible just outside the windows—to honor and to 'listen' to the site. The sound will be very intense, so there won't be much verbal communication going on."
Weiss will compose a film from these live moments of the drawing and pre-recorded sounds. It will also feature views from the days of preparation prior to the performance, when she and the students sew the canvas together.
The World Financial Center is located between Vesey and Liberty Streets in Battery Park City. The exhibition will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, visit http://www.worldfinancialcenter.com/calendar.
Monika Weiss Biography
Weiss, who joined the faculty of Washington College's Department of Art this fall, is a multimedia artist who creates environments that explore the body as cultural and physical signifier through drawing, video, performance, sculpture, and installation. In her multimedia installations, Weiss explores the physical properties of the act of drawing, which she combines with references to ancient and medieval symbols and concepts of the world and the human being.
She also uses her own body in her art as both the maker and the inhabitant of the artistic object. In one of her recent installations, "Ennoia," Weiss immerses herself for several hours inside a water-filled chalice while a projected image of the immersion and the underwater sounds mirror her action. In her ongoing series, "Intervals," she creates large-scale drawing landscapes that others may enter and fill with their own actions.
Weiss studied piano and composition at the Warsaw Conservatory and continues to compose music for her installations. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1989 and has since exhibited internationally. Weiss arrived in United States in 1996 to serve as Artist in Residence and Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgia State University School of Art and Design. She has since held visiting artist appointments at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and McGill University in Montreal.
In 2005, a major survey of her works was presented by the Lehman College Art Gallery and reviewed in The New York Times. Weiss' other recent solo exhibitions include Instytut Sztuki Wyspa, Gdansk, Poland (2005), Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal (2005), and Chelsea Art Museum (2004). In 2006, her works were exhibited by the Kunsthaus Dresden, ArteBa, Buenos Aires, and The Drawing Center, New York. Her works also reside in the public collections of the Albertina Museum, Vienna, the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, New York, and the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, among others.
For more information, visit http://www.monika-weiss.com.
"Fall-Keimai," part of "Between Body and Language" with Sata Mondiano and Griaciela Fuentes
Remy Toledo Gallery
New York City
September 7-October 15, 2006
Kentler International Drawing Space
Brooklyn, New York
September 8-October 28, 2006
"Abiding" and "Drawing with Body, Drawing with Sound," part of "You Won't Feel a Thing: On Panic, Obsession, Anesthesia and Rituality"
September 8-November 5, 2006
"Drawing Lethe," part of "The Big Draw" organized by The Drawing Center
World Financial Center Winter Garden
New York City
September 9, 2006
"Anamnesis II (Swiatlo Dnia)" part of "POZA. A Multidisciplinary Polish Art Exhibition"
Real Art Ways
October 2006-January 2007