The Torpedo Factory Art Center presents the work of artists Lynda Andrews-Barry and Liliane Blom for our 2019 Spring Seasonal Art Installations. The Spring Seasonal Art Installations exhibition was curated by Anne Burton, who is the Gallery Director at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD. The goal of the seasonal art installations is to activate public space for visitors with site-specific and immersive public art. We rotate exhibitions throughout the year to keep the artwork fresh and constantly evolving.
Blowing in the Wind – A Cherry Blossom Installation
Blowing in the wind is a three-part, site-specific installation at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia created by DMV artist Liliane Blom.
In the central entrance hallway of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, twenty clear and pink edged umbrellas filled with dye cut cherry blossoms in shades of pink and white slowly twirl, and like surrealistic tree canopies greet the visitor with their festive dance.
In the main hallway on the south end, a 70 foot long “Silk River” made of four hand-dyed silk pieces, each 5 feet wide and 20 feet long, will hang 12 to 15 feet in the air, animated by strategically placed fans on the balcony perimeter. The visitor can view the silk from below or from the second-floor walkway, creating two very distinct but equally captivating perspectives. The silk river is inspired by the fallen cherry blossom petals that run and float along the streets in the Washington region at the end of spring.
Artist Liliane Blom says, “I never tire of these petals as I walk through them, as I watch them run and dance and frolic down the street transported by the April breeze; of the sudden pink rivulets and torrents magically created by spring showers transforming the gutters, ponds and streams into magical spaces. They flow through my heart like a river of joy. Joy tinged with an undercurrent of nostalgia – that feeling of longing for something past, even as it still surrounds us. And so I dream up and create rivers of pink silk to hold on to the immaterial and ephemeral.”
Below the billowing silk river, two videos of cherry blossoms are projected on canvas screens on the concrete floor. At one end of the hallway is a circular 4 min. long looping animation of goldfish swimming in a cherry blossom covered pond; on the other end a 20 min. video – 3 years worth of time-lapse photography of cherry blossoms, from buds to blooms through wilted blossoms photographed in Rockville, Maryland. These images, animated and transformed into kaleidoscopes and dreamscape, capture this brief and glorious time of nature’s exuberance.
Two paintings, each 60”x36” from the “Pink a Cherry Blossom Fantasy” series, finish the installation. The paintings are, “Dream Walking” and “Twinkle Toes”.
Fly/Away, references the location of Alexandria within The Great Atlantic Migratory Bird Flyway.
Spring marks the transition between winter and summer, when days becomes longer and temperatures rise. Birds that nest in our Northern Hemisphere tend to migrate northward in the spring to take advantage of burgeoning insect populations, budding plants, and an abundance of nesting locations. Part of this movement occurs over the Torpedo Factory Art Center, as it is centrally located within the bird travel route known as the Great Atlantic Flyway. This path stretches from the eastern Arctic Islands in the North, to the areas surrounding the Gulf of Mexico in the South. Residing between the Appalachian Mountains in the West and the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the East, the route is used by birds due to its relative lack of blockades. The migration route narrows considerably beginning at the state of Virginia, where it provides good sources of water, food, and cover for numerous bird species. The Atlantic Flyway encompasses some of the Hemisphere’s most productive ecosystems, including forests, beaches, and coastal wetland, as well as more than a third of the people in the United States.
The installation Fly/Away is intended to showcase the oft unseen and sometimes ignored natural phenomenon of this annual local bird migration. The idea for the project hinges on the perception of sublime immanence: of beauty present in the hidden, in the humble, small and ephemeral.
Encircling the Third Floor Smoke Stack, Fly/Away incorporates fabric, rope, river rocks, a sound-activated 22k gilded mechanical bird and vintage bird cage, and rubber paint with a continuously looped video projection of migrating birds.
About the Curator
Anne Burton is a curator, exhibit designer and graphic designer. She is currently the Gallery Director at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD and was previously the Exhibitions Coordinator at VisArts in Rockville, MD. Burton has more than 20 years of experience in exhibit design and graphic design, including nine years working in-house for Special Olympics at their international headquarters. For more than 10 years she taught design courses as an adjunct at area colleges, including the Corcoran College of Art + Design, American University, and Montgomery College. Burton completed the graduate program at The Basel School of Design in Basel, Switzerland and earned her BFA at Trinity College in Washington, DC.