Until July 2016, Plexus A1, an art installation comprising of nearly 60 miles of handwoven threads by Mexican artist Gabriel Dawe, will be exhibited in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s newly renovated Renwick Gallery. Dawe’s installation consists of 15 hues to mimic the full spectrum of visible light.
Curator-in-Charge at the Renwick, Nicholas R. Bell, said, “I was immediately drawn to [Dawe’s] work, the ethereality of it, and the illusion that the material—cotton thread—is anything but that. In the long history of our relationship with textiles, how many creators have successfully changed the way we think about the very nature of the material?”
Gabriel Dawe spanned the sewing thread from Renwick’s 19-foot-tall ceilings and worked layer by layer, gradating hues to resemble visible light. Dawe completed the installation in ten days.
Dawe said, “Once I have an idea of what I want to do in a space, it’s just a matter of attaching hooks and stringing them on site, one thread at a time. I use a tool I’ve developed that works as a giant needle that takes the thread up and down. In a space like the Renwick, which is rather big, I also rely on a lift and helpers to be able to reach over such a big span of space.”
The Renwick Gallery opened last fall, after two years of renovations. Dawe is one of nine artists displaying works in the exhibition, WONDER, as the gallery gradually bring in the permanent collection.
For more information on the WONDER exhibition visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s webpage here.