Her most recent installation, Nunderwater Nort Lab at Zach Feuer Gallery in New York City, juxtaposes two seemingly unrelated activities – art and lunch. While not necessarily two subjects you think of together, many people do in fact eat their lunch in places filled with art, like galleries, public parks, plazas, lobbies, etc. The main structure is built from blocks of scrap wood that have been repurposed and then ordered from previous installations. In this new installation, visitors will smell lunch as well as see it being made and eaten inside. Wormholes will provide viewers a peak into the mis-matched world inside.
Washburn’s off-the-wall installations are often named for a play on the sounds and meanings of words. Nort, for instance is a version of Ort, is a play on the word Art, and was a name she applied to a previous work. Some of her other installations are like small cities filled with building-like objects and vegetation, while others are abstract sculptures composed of wood or scraps of cardboard. A team of assistants is necessary to help her install her sculptures.
Washburn describes her art: “My sculptures depend a lot on the spaces where they are shown because they often are anchored into the wall but chance is definitely more of a factor in the final product than is any predetermined design. I just let the structures evolve by repeating the same action again and again. The process has a slightly neurotic element in that it involves adding little behavior habits. As silly as it sounds, I often feel as if my assistants and I are beavers building a dam. The shapes are less about form than they are about the activity involved in amassing and assembling the forms.”
Images © Phoebe Washburn