Vermont based artist Alisa Dworsky opens an exhibition of new works, including InVersion, a large scale, site-based volumetric work, at CYNTHIA-REEVES, located on the campus of MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. Dworsky will be working on her installation from February 6 – 10, which will be open to the public. There will be an artist’s reception Saturday, February 17 from 5-7 p.m. which is free and open to the public; the exhibition runs through March 10.
In Alisa Dworsky’s work, the visual follows from the tactile. With a cross-disciplinary practice that includes drawing, printmaking, sculpture and installations, her work in one medium influences her approach to another. The ease with which she moves among diverse media is counter to the over-arching sense of flux and movement in the world of contemporary art-making. Dworsky has found a clear voice and well-defined area of inquiry for her forms, regardless of whether they manifest in two dimensions or three. This clarity of vision is rare, and the artist’s ability to preserve a sense of spontaneity and vibrancy within the realms of both works on paper and site-based volumetric works even rarer.
In the current exhibition, the primary installation is made from a series of tetrahedrons-–regular polyhedrons made of four connected triangular planes. Inspired by tent and kite construction, Dworsky makes the tetrahedrons of tensile fabric panels assembled with lightweight connectors. The triangle and the tetrahedron, forms that are the basis of the visionary work of the engineer and designer, Buckminster Fuller, are remarkably efficient and strong. The free interplay among the geometric forms in Dworsky’s large scale installation suggest shelter and vessel, sail and tent, wing and kite, origami and architecture.
For her works on paper, Dworsky employs a graphite frottage method, e.g., applying pressure to transfer the qualities of an object to the surface of the page. Embedded in the two-dimensional drawings are qualities of three-dimensional volume: they are representational and abstract, static and dynamic. In the Entangle and Fold series, she shifts lengths of ribbon beneath the page, recording each impression, and thus allowing the composition to unfold organically. With a nod to John Cage, rules define the parameters of the series, Follow the Nut: a steel nut is placed in the center of the paper and hammered successively until it jumps off the page. Graphite powder describes the path of the nut on a thin layer of transfer paper.
Dworsky’s intuitive process is evidence of her respect for serendipity – relying on the moment of surprise to open up the next moment of inquiry. Dworsky’s architectural training, however, is her anchor, providing a strong framework and rigor for her inquiries in both her two and three dimensional work. Her intense respect for materials is able to shine through all the more as a result.
Dworsky exhibits nationally and has created site specific art installations for the Brattleboro Museum, Burlington City Arts, the Bennington Museum, the Fleming Museum, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, 516 Arts (Albuquerque, NM), Artspace (New Haven CT), and the Lexington Art League (Lexington, KY). Dworsky was awarded a Yaddo residency fellowship in 2015 and a Ragdale residency on 2016. She has received six grants from the Vermont Arts Council, four grants from the Vermont Community Foundation, and grants from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She earned a Masters in Architecture from Yale and a BA from Stanford, in both Studio Art and International Relations. She is cofounder of the architectural design firm, DS Architects (formerly Terra Firma Inc.), with her husband Danny Sagan. Dworsky currently teaches an architectural design studio at Norwich University and has taught architecture and art at Norwich University, Stanford University, The Yale Graduate School of Architecture, Ball State University and the Yestermorrow Design-Build School over the last twenty years. She lives and works in Montpelier Vermont.