Ten + One Illuminations

Margo Sawyer

Exhibition: Jun 8 – Jul 16, 2000


For ArtPace, Sawyer has concentrated on a single work, Ten + One Illuminations, that balances the theatricality of installation with the material traditions of sculpture. Upon entering the darkened gallery, the viewer navigates a field of circular forms, varying in size, which seem to hover above the floor. The interior of each object is gold leafed and lit from above with a dramatic spotlight. The result is an arrangement of almost blinding surfaces that bounce soft reflections throughout the gallery. As the viewer moves through the dream-like space, they become immersed in the radiance of the objects and the warmth of the reflections. Sawyer states, “In this mysterious landscape of light, I hope to create a sublime environment that is simultaneously tangible and intangible.”

With direct architectural references to the luminous interior of the Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto and to the sculptural floor of the Aholi temple in India, this installation expands on Sawyer’s interest in Eastern sacred spaces. The artist effectively presents a phenomenon of choices rather than a singular answer. The collective power of Sawyer’s objects and the mystery of their presence heighten Sawyer’s universal concerns.

Ten + One Illuminations is a logical progress of Sawyer’s previous work in which the viewer was on the periphery, looking in. Here, Sawyer’s installation is activated by the viewer’s presence, bringing the work even closer to the function of a sacred space. While visually dynamic, the work creates a contemplative space in which the optical effects of afterimage, reflection and surface transcend object-ness into the ephemeral.

Artist

Margo Sawyer

Elgin, Texas, USA

Texas-based Margo Sawyer was born in 1958 in Washington, DC and was raised in London. She received her B.A. from the Chelsea School of Art in London and her M.F.A. in sculpture from Yale University. She is an Associate Professor of Sculpture at The University of Texas at Austin and founded and directs 1/4 Hora Project Space, an alternative space in Elgin, Texas.
Since the early 1980s, Sawyer has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at P.S. 1, New York (1989); Barbara Toll Gallery, New York (1989, 1991); Women and Their Work, Austin (1992, 1999); Diverseworks Artspace, Houston (1994); Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo (1996); GalleryGallery, Kyoto (1996); Austin Museum of Art (1998); and the Galveston Art Center, Galveston, TX (1999). Her participation in group exhibitions has included shows at the ICA London; Portland Art Museum; and Socrates Sculpture Park, New York. She is the recipient of numerous grants, notably fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1986); American Academy in Rome (1986-87); Art Matters Inc. (1987); Change, Inc. (1989); Arts International (1994); Fullbright (1982-83: India, 1995-96: Japan); and Japan Foundation (1996).
For much of her career, Margo Sawyer’s large-scale installations have emerged from observations of historic and contemporary sites of sacred architecture. She is interested in the relationship between space and transcendence as explored in Buddhism and Hinduism. From this research, Sawyer creates sculptural topographies that map a contemplative terrain that is part architecture and part landscape.
Margo Sawyer was selected for her ArtPace residency by the March 1998 panel consisting of Dan Cameron, Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, Amada Cruz, Kellie Jones, Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Nancy Rubins.

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Curators

Amada Cruz

Los Angeles, CA
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Kellie Jones

New York, NY
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Nancy Rubins

Topanga, California, USA

Born in 1952 in Naples, Texas, Californian Nancy Rubins received her MFA from the University of California, Davis. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, including shows at Paul Kasmin Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Venice Biennale Aperto. Rubins’ work was included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ Helter Skelter exhibit in 1992. Rubins teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Art Department. She has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tiffany Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Annette DiMeo Carlozzi

Austin, TX
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Dan Cameron

Newport Beach, California

From 2012 to 2015 he was Chief Curator at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California. In 2006, Dan Cameron founded the Biennial Prospect New Orleans, where he worked at until 2011. From 1995 to 2005 he was Senior Curator at the New Museum, New York, where he developed numerous group exhibitions, such as East Village USA and Living inside the Grid, and several individual shows dedicated to the artists Martin Wong, William Kentridge, Carolee Schneemann, Carroll Dunham, Doris Salcedo, José Antonio Hernández Diez, among others.
As independent curator he has organized many exhibitions that brought him international attention, such as El arte y su doble (Fundación Caixa, Madrid, 1987); El jardín salvaje (Fundación Caixa, Barcelona, 1991); Cocido y crudo (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1995), among many others. In 2003, he was the Artistic Director of the 8th Istanbul Biennial, and in 2006, Co-curator of the 5th Taipei Biennial.
He has published hundreds of texts in books, catalogues and magazines, and has given numerous talks and conferences at museums and universities around the world, also carrying out an important teaching activity in New York.

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Hans Ulrich Obrist

London, England

Hans Ulrich-Obrist is the Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London, positions created for Ulrich-Obrist in April 2006. As a curator at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France since 2000, among many other exhibitions he organized solo shows with Jonas Mekas (2003), Anri Sala (2004), and Cerith Wyn Evans (2006). Before this position Ulrich-Obrist was an independent curator for a decade, organizing the group show Take Me I’m Yours at the Serpentine (1995) and Retrace Your Steps: Remember at the John Soane Museum (1999), also in London, England. Ulrich-Obrist was a panelist in 1998 for the 1999-2000 year of artists, and was invited to be a speaker at the 2003 symposium, but was unable to come due to illness.
Photo by Dominik Gigler

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