© 2021 Erica Stoller

For some time I have been paying close attention to cables and wires, the landscape that surrounds us, in plain sight but often overlooked. With reference is to the electric infrastructure, the materials are non-specific. Plastic tubes, cord, hoses and more are repurposed, colorful, industrial elements...with no functional capacity. A residency in Quebec in the summer of 2019 expanded my awareness of pylons and high tension wires as HydroQuebec “feeds” part of eastern Canada and the US.

Covid concerns, lockdown, and social distancing created a new way of handling the materials with a series of “walking sticks” for vertical balance and horizontal measurement. Some smaller, leftover units became Coup Sticks, with reference to Native American warfare. While “make” is my operative verb, in the 2020 lockdown, “make do” was the approach for dealing with materials in the studio.

Working with plastic, reusing and recycling, is one approach. Avoiding it altogether is another. More recent wall-to-wall installations were made of cord and sisal. While the earlier pieces referenced the loops and droops of powerlines, the newer rope works are under tension, tightened with sliding knots and even turnbuckles, and are more like stringed instruments than laundry lines.

A recent flurry of smaller pieces, made of cardboard and paper, came about when I moved from a large, light space to a smaller, lower, darker studio. With these comfortable, colorful materials, I continue to explore shape, color, line. Cut, folded, bent, bound: the tactile quality and the sequencing seem like books. The materials, the colors, the configuration are the content. No words in these “books”. And though I have no connection to Catholic iconography, I have been strongly affected by reading about the funeral of Pope John Paul II. On a stormy day in Rome, an open copy of the Book of the Gospel was placed on the coffin. The pages were turned by the wind. This image stays with me. These wall-mounted “books” often have pages that move with the air currents.

Working with a range of materials and at various scales provides interesting backs-and-forths: two dimensions and three. Movement with some swishing, clicking, and scratching sounds as well. Lines, planes, edges. Larger, smaller. I am interested in the physical qualities of the materials, how far to push and pull. Let’s see how it goes....