subscribe: Posts | Comments

Sculptor Vanessa Diaz uses found objects to convey a sense of the uncanny


vanessa-diaz-05sI’ve never been to Vanessa Diaz’s home. But if Accumulating Interiors is any indication of what her living space is like, it might be hard to find a place to sit. That’s because in hands of the Boynton Beach sculptor, tables, chairs and other items of household décor and appointment are often re-imagined.

vanessa-diaz-09sDiaz and 2D artist Tyanna Buie have transformed the main gallery at FGCU into a whimsical, fantastical space dominated by couches turned on end, partially disassembled armchairs, carpeted walls and ponderous chandeliers that dominate the cavernous space. “The chandeliers represent an accumulation of fixtures a person may own in their lifetime,” Diaz told Tampa Bay Times vanessa-diaz-11scorrespondent Scott Keeler in connection with an April, 2016 exhibition of her work in the Kathryn B. Stenquist Gallery at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts.

Diaz uses found objects to convey a sense of the uncanny. “I am interested in what we collect, display, relocate with, the continual cycle of rearranging these things, and evidence of use that accumulate on objects,” she expounds. She initially started using furniture in 2011 as a support system for large tent-like structures that she was making with textiles. In the process of dismantling sections of furniture for this purpose, she became aware of the formal qualities of the wood, upholstery, hardware, interior components, and isolated shapes inherent vanessa-diaz-10sin the pieces.

Two of these tent-like textile structures serve to draw people into the exhibition and usher them to the far reaches of the gallery, where reconfigured furniture adorns the floors and the opposite wall. An inspection of these pieces reveals the sculptor’s process. “I look at an object or piece of furniture and break it down into separate shapes; it is somewhat relative to dissecting something and laying out all the pieces,” she told Boca’s John Thomason in 2012 in connection with a work called The Offering which won Best of Show in that year’s All Florida exhibition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. “I then selectively choose forms that fit together in a way that could provoke an vanessa-diaz-04suncanny experience. I want the viewer to see the combination of objects appearing to belong together, and experience uncertainty in how to approach the piece. I feel that this could be done with new furniture, but as of now, I enjoy the hunt to find pieces with some history.”

In Diaz’s complicated world, the artworks she assimilates are designed to be enigmatic, puzzles, something of a challenge. She delights in having viewers question how they should walk up to, look at, and ponder her pieces. “Artists spend months making and editing their work before exposing a piece to the public, and it is a great compliment for a viewer to engage and show appreciation for vanessa-diaz-02sa piece,” she confesses.

Regrettably, the uncertainty surrounding Hurricane Matthew deprived us of having the benefit of a gallery walk and talk to shed light on the offerings contained within Accumulated Interiors. However, that merely frees viewers to contemplate for themselves the meanings of her pieces – both to themselves and the artist.

Accumulating Interiors is on view through November 17. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.

October 19, 2016.


Comments are closed.