MAY 3 – NOVEMBER 30, 2014
In a Storm King hay field, artist Virginia Overton has designed a sculptural installation that is simultaneously sweeping and delicate in scale. Created out of four-inch-diameter brass tubing, the work glides above the earth across the field’s five-hundred-foot width. Storm King’s landscape helped to determine the parameters of this untitled work: the field’s length dictated that of the installation, and the work echoes the contour of the field as it slopes from west to east. Overton visited Storm King several times—through every season—as she conceived the work. The period of its exhibition, May through November, bears witness to many changes in climate, and by design, the duration of the installation will affect the piece. The tube will slowly form a patina, and its color will also reflect its natural surroundings as the seasons shift from early spring, to summer, to deep autumn. In part, the work functions as a drawing in space. When compared to the grand scale of the landscape around it, the brass tube becomes a slight gesture. The line of the work is formally elegant, but its expansive span also implies that the line is meant to be seen from afar, in full, perhaps from atop one of Storm King’s many vistas; the piece also seems to invite an aerial viewpoint.
Overton’s line across space has a functional corollary in cartography and mapping, in which large expanses of space are translated into two dimensions in order to be understood. Overton worked with a topographic map of Storm King’s property to familiarize herself with the site. Topographic maps are meant to aid in land management, strategic planning, security, and the identification and understanding of natural resources. The symbolic visual language of a topographic map’s lines and concentric rings informs her installation. The idea of a field as more than a passive, natural space is of interest to Overton, who has long been engaged with social histories of spaces. She chose to make a work at this particular site in part because of its background as an active farming site, a site from which hay is still harvested every year. At four feet, the tube will hover just above the height line of the hay at its tallest, before it is harvested.
The project also has a playful, joyful, and interactive dimension. Several musical instruments are made of brass, and the material carries sound readily. Visitors are invited to engage with and activate Overton’s work by listening and speaking into either end of it. It carries sound, picks up slight noises, and allows visitors different experiences—visual, auditory, spatial—as they traverse Storm King’s landscape. For Overton, both site and viewer are critical to the meaning of this piece.
Overton is the second artist invited to participate in Storm King’s yearly Outlooks series, which invites an emerging or mid-career artist who has demonstrated a particular facility and promise in working outdoors to create a temporary work of art specifically for Storm King’s site. This installation is organized by Nora Lawrence, Associate Curator.
Outlooks: Virginia Overton is made possible by generous lead support from the Ohnell Charitable Lead Trust. Support for the accompanying brochure is provided by Mitchell- Innes & Nash, NY. Support for education-related programming is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund and Sidney E. Frank Foundation, and artist talks are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Virginia Overton would like to thank Storm King Art Center’s installation team, led by Mike Seaman and including Joel Longinott, Armando Ocampo, Mike Odynsky, and Howard Seaman, as well as Storm King’s entire staff. In addition, she thanks James Campbell, Elaine Chin, Neal Curley, Lucky DeBellevue, Motoko Fukuyama, Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery, Anne and Ned Overton, Karen Overton, Shan Overton, Turner Overton and Kate Flanagan, Richard Roman, and Aaron Suggs. Thanks as well to David Collens, Theresa Choi, and Mary Ann Carter in Storm King’s curatorial department.
Photography by Motoko Fukuyama, Virginia Overton, and Jerry L. Thompson
Virginia Overton. Untitled, 2014. Brass and painted steel, 48" x 488' x 4" (121.9 cm x 148.7 m x 10.2 cm). Courtesy the artist.
Virginia Overton was born in Tennessee and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Currently, she has a solo exhibition titled Virginia Overton: Flat Rock at MOCA North Miami, Florida. Other recent solo exhibitions include: Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; Mitchell-Innes and Nash, New York; The Kitchen, New York; The Power Station, Dallas; Freymond-Guth, Zurich, Switzerland; and Dispatch, New York. She has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1; SculptureCenter; White Columns, New York; White Flag Projects and Contemporary Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO; and Disjecta, Portland. She has an upcoming exhibition at White Cube, London.