I’ve said before that I like to watch artists in the process of creating their art. When I heard about an artist who was going to use over 1,800 pounds of plaster to create her art, I thought that sounded interesting and made plans to go watch the artwork come into being for today’s Through the Lens.
St. Louis artist Jill Downen was invited to the University of North Texas to transform a 2,060 square foot art gallery into her own piece of art. Armed with a strainer, Downen was in the middle of spreading plaster dust all over the floor of the gallery when I got there. She explained to me that her piece, called Dust and Distance, was a site specific, responsive piece of artwork.
Downen’s art deals with the human body and how it responds to architecture. She wants viewer to come into the room and slow down. She wants them to have a quiet meditative experience and take some time to let it speak to them.
At first glance some will think they have entered a room that is under some kind of construction as a plumb line hangs from the ceiling and a large chunk of molded plaster lies broken in the massive expanse of the fine white powder of plaster dust.
It is a unique experience to stand in the gallery where it is very quiet and for the most part colorless and try to imagine what it means. Downen says it’s all about how architecture as well as the human body are temporal things and that is definitely something to think about.