Rehearsals start for "Motion Line Form" this week

I set up the  ribbon struts last week in a high wind…some beautiful moments when the ribbon got away from me and sailed through the air (that will be another installation piece). Sam Kelley, exhibitions manager at the Brattleboro Museum,  helped me wrangle them back into place.  Today I'm completing the prep for starting rehearsals which means gathering the last of the materials, finishing up my rewinding devices for the ribbon and sewing various tool belts that the dancers can use to hold the ribbon. 

Tuesday morning I drive south and meet choreographers Candace Salyers and Dahlia Nayar on site at the museum to continue developing the movement sequence for the  installation. I'm excited to be working together on site after a big hiatus from the fall ( it had something to do with these long Vermont Winters!). Hoping its won't dare snow this week as far south as Brattleboro. (Performance is 4pm Saturday May 9)

 Drawing the curves with ribbon on the ground and starting to place the struts along those curves.

Drawing the curves with ribbon on the ground and starting to place the struts along those curves.

 Ribbon struts set and taught. ( colored ribbons will be woven by dancers as part of movement sequence)

Ribbon struts set and taught. ( colored ribbons will be woven by dancers as part of movement sequence)

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2nd Day at Yaddo

Settling into my three week residency having set up my work space. They have lent me a huge 20' X 30' studio with fantastic light. My bedroom and bath are in the same building along with a kitchen I can use. I'm in a brand new building so everything is elegant and clean and well heated. Who can ask for more? A good group of cohorts , a mix of writers  and visual artists. Dinner is held communally in the dining hall of the mansion…wood paneled walls, heavy mahogony chairs, it's all very  high victoriana.


Rehearsals for "Motion-Line-Form" have started for performance May 9, 2015 at Brattleboro Museum

 Working with Choreographer Candice Salyers over the weekend of September 20th, we began to explore how movement can support the construction and development of the installation "Motion-Line-Form". Choreographer Dahlia Nayar joined us on Saturday for an hour and will be continuing to work with us towards the performance of this piece on May 9th, 2015 at the Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro.

I arrived for the rehearsals with Photoshop renderings of possible forms and models. Based on our work together over the weekend the forms have shifted subtly…I am "lightening” the density of the weave on the left so that a sequence emerges moving from less dense to denser structures left to right. The dance will also move from left to right. We have been discussing ways to encourage the audience to change their point of view as the performance progresses. The work has a completely different character viewed from the "front' as compared to a side or angled view that layers the forms one upon another. We want to emphasize this shift.

We spent a good a mount of time discussing themes in the work and potential points of emphasis across disciplines. It was a really productive dialogue between Candice and Myself. Her questions helped me to articulate the goals of expressing the movement that exists within all forms….even static forms…at an atomic level. We spent time talking about the movement I've experienced as a builder and how "stable "buildings are the result of an intensive accretion of many many movements. The choreography of building is influenced by the sequence in which materials must be installed but also by the weight and dimensions of materials and the strategies for shifting materials into place.

Images below are of the form and some shots of the Choreographers testing out ideas for movement.

Prints on display in "Sole" at Metro Gallery, BCA Center Burlington VT

The exhibition is up from July 31- September 28 2014.Opening reception July 31st, 5:30 - 7:30 pm Six prints from my series "Fine Cord" are on exhibit.

The ”Fine Cord” prints displayed in this show were made using a soft ground intaglio technique in which the texture of a fine nylon cord was transferred to a series of metal plates. Each print is made from multiple registrations making use of offset images and ghosting. No two prints in the series are alike yet they are each made from the same family of plates. These abstract images are also highly representational as a three dimensional material is transformed and “represented” in the creation of these two dimensional artworks.

Fine Cord 52

My installation "Drawn Out" and my drawings at Artspace in New Haven through January 25th

The exhibit as opened, the installation is complete! here is an image of "Drawn Out", 10' X  13' X 7', Ribbon, Lead, Carabiners and Steel, 2013. Three lead weights create a tensile force on the horizontally woven ribbons; this force helps to shape the main volume of the piece. The counterweights are connected to the main form by satin ribbons strung through a series of carabiners, mounted on the ceiling and the wall, that redirect the tensile force created by the lead weights.

Jeff Bergman, Associate Director  at Pace Prints curated the show "Flat/Not Flat" for which I created this work. The work of Jennifer Davies, Karen Dow, and Martha Lewis is also on exhibit here and it is all well worth seeing. Artspace has some funky hours over the holidays - Artspace is open Wednesdays & Thursday from 12-6pm, Fridays & Saturdays from 12-8pm. The gallery is free and open to the public. Artspace will be closed for Thanksgiving November 27-30th and between December 18th and January 7th."

Drawn Out front view web

Below: "Ribbon 13", 22" X 22", Graphite on Paper 2013

Ribbon 13 web



Curator Jeff Bergman wrote this on his blog "Atlas".

"Alisa Dworsky built something quite remarkable with Drawn Out.  It conforms to the space without overtaking it, but makes a huge impact.  For me, the piece becomes a one quarter slice of the axis of the planet.  The architecture of our world.  Dworsky and I were able to discuss materials, spaces and methods, but nothing could have prepared me for the physical reality of the piece.  Alisa took ribbon, hardware and weights and made a space born of physics and air.  Her drawings quite literally flatten the piece using ribbon and graphite.  The erasures and the grissale line fills me with the joy that usually only Celmins and Ruscha can."

Artspace Exhibit opens Friday November 8th in New Haven, CT

I am creating an installation of satin Ribbons for the artspace Gallery. I will also be exhibiting graphite drawings that are made from rubbings of the same ribbon used in the installation. Beellow images of the installation partially constructed in my studio and a few of the drawings. The exhibit remains up through January 25th.  

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="463,464,461,462,460"]


Here's  what my friend, poet Peter Money wrote in respnse to these works. I am grateful for his insights and his enthusiasm!

"Wow, the graphite "ribbon" drawings are incredible.  Lots of movement and metaphor here (don't get me started-----); I love, particularly, the "underside" of the line. . . the layer "still there," not "absent."  It is graceful, somber, sexy, figural, ghostly, violent (S/M), film-ic, xray-ish, undersea-ish, alive, flotsam, essential, spring, container, outlet, in motion. "Flat" sculpture made springing, en medias.

 And the installation:  the pretty white cage, dressed and revealed, prone/bridal, in its gyre like a valve letting loose but fixed. . . stationed down but charged with internal vortex.  Wisdom coming, like the stained glass to the light:  "just hold there, it's coming" ("but here's the downer:  it's only fleeting").  "Portrait" in thatched line, a trail for the face from window's wink; the "face" a voice also, a megaphone tornadoing, the un-spun spinning. . . kept desire amounting, finally starting to articulate, bound and constrained, an energy revving in place.
Lovely, and moving.  Thanks, Alisa.

Studies for Dance/Installation/Weaving

I have been making full scale studies for an upcoming performance and exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum scheduled for  May 31st, 2014- on view through the summer. (note : the project has been rescheduled for May 2015) [gallery type="slideshow" ids="481,482,483"]

I am experimenting with how dancers can participate in the construction of one of my woven ribbon installations by helping to build a work as part of a performance. I am inspired in part by the tradition of the maypole dance in which textiles are woven around a pole as the risidual creation of a movement performance. Due to limitations in time and budget for this round I have been working on developing structures that two dancers can create. The vertical "struts" are fixed prior to the performance and facilitate this strategy.

In the early fall, while the weather was warm, I worked for a few sessions with choreographers and dancers Polly Motley and Hanna Satterlee  at a proxy site in East Montpelier to see how we could integrate dance into the construction of the work. I had developed woven structures for this piece through models and full scale studies. Taking into account the needs and input from the dancers, we changed the woven form they build  so as to allow for a broader scope of movement and movement that the dancers enjoy.

Originally I entended dancers to also construct this form around a tree.  However, I discovered that I could build the work as one person working on my own. Perhaps in the future I will have the chance to explore with dancers how to collaborate in creating this work or one based on it.

The research and early development of  this new body of work has been supported by grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Community Foundation. My heartfelt appreciation!

Soumak 1 web

"Inside Out", My new installation up through July 14th

This installation was created for the lexington Art league, a contemporary art space in Lexington Kentucky. The work is made of rip stop nylon, dowles and custom connectors and is sited in a 20' X 30' X 15' room.

Many thanks to the staff and volunteers at LAL for their support of this project.

This installation is made from a series of tetrahedrons, ideal solids made of 4 connected triangular planes. Inspired by tent and kite construction, the tetrahedrons are made of dowels and tensile fabric panels assembled with light weight connectors. I am interested in how the repetition of a single shape, varied in its enclosure and orientation, assembled creates a crystalline landscape. The experience of this landscape changes as one moves around the piece.

I selected white fabric for the installation because I want to emphasize the shade and projected shadows in the work. The white panels also reflect the subtle color shifts that take place as the light changes over a day. The triangle and the tetrahedron are remarkably efficient and strong forms…. forms that are the basis of the visionary work of the engineer and designer Buckminster Fuller whose work influences this piece. I am interested in how one can build light forms that compact and ship efficiently and yet deploy to activate and define a space by expanding when assembled.

Some images of the fabrication process below

Weaving, Dance, Installation to be performed May 2014, Brattleboro Vermont

Schematic Studies This work  engages a community of people to weave strands of ribbon around trees or poles to make a series of large-scale textile installations. Expanding and radically transforming  the concept of the maypole dance, this work builds on my installations made of hand- crocheted rope and adds the potential for choreographed movement. This piece is both a performance and a work of visual art.

My goal is to create striking tapered forms with varying graphic patterns. I want to make these works in series so it is important that I can vary the weaving technique to create a range of formal qualities. I intend to create a number of works for different venues.

Receive Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant

Hurray! I am thrilled to have support from the Vermont arts council for an innovative installation I am developing. This installation radically transforms the concept of the  maypole dance...a group of people use a movement system  to perform/construct a series of large outdoor textile installations. The Brattleboro Museum will present the work -likely in spring 2014.

here is a design/sketch (very rough) of what one such construction might look like.

tree weaving double layer 2

My installation "Soledad" created in response to a poem by Miriam Sagan Opens May 26th at 516 Arts Albuquerque NM

Soledad is one of 2 installations based on poems by Miriam Sagan in the exhibit "Time Pieces: Wendover Landing". The exhibit remains up through August 11, 2012. Soledad is made of  ripstop nylon, wood dowels, ribbon and steel. The images presented below  include studio shots taken  during fabrication and a photoshop image of the installation as it will look in the gallery. I will install the work in the week between May 21st and may 26th.

I plan to attend the opening so say hello if you happen to be there.

Time Pieces_invite_web

Miriam Sagan's poem:


reading in bed

in the little trailer

at the edge of town

a crescent moon


over millions of acres

of darkness

desert sunrise--

Venus, burnished...

and everything

I don't understand

and all of


rolls towards me

like the waves

of a primeval sea.

My artist's statement:

I created the installation “Soledad” in direct response to the poem by Miriam Sagan. I read Sagan’s poem looking for imagery, dualities, and contrasts in the text that could guide my search for a visual approach to the installation. I noticed the expanding scale in the poem – text, bed, trailer, town, millions of acres, Venus, all of desire- and I expressed this idea with the chevron form of the wall pieces and their enlarging size as they are distributed across the wall. I noticed the transition in Sagan’s imagery from darkness towards light and from the earthly realm of human enclosure and habitation towards allusions to the celestial and distant time. The presence of a text -implied by the phrase “reading in bed”- occupies in the poem the grounded real of human settlement as the reader is nested within the bed, trailer, and town. I have therefore incised the text of the poem on dark steel bars – a material that has weight and that is associated with buildings. The white fabric wall forms suggest the celestial realm, the coming of day and the imagined waves of the “primordial sea”. These stretched fabric forms blend into the white of the gallery wall, a wall that can be understood as a metaphor for the infinite space and potential of the creative imagination, which includes for me “everything I don’t understand” and  “all of desire”. The fabrics forms are pulled taught and are anchored to the floor by ribbons that connect them to the steel bars. As there is a functional and formal connection between the grounded steel text elements and the floating light forms of the fabric, so too I imagine delicate threads connecting the reader to their thoughts of celestial bodies, the coming of day, primordial times, their emotions and their imagination.

I approached the fabrication of the installation by using materials and methods that were new to me. This installation is made of rip-stop nylon, birch dowels, grommets, ribbon and steel. The chevron forms are very lightweight tensile structures influenced by tent and kite construction. The constraints presented by “Soledad” - the distance of Albuquerque from my studio in Vermont, the limited shipping budget, limited time on site to install and the limited loads that the gallery ceiling could support- pushed me to make an installation that is lightweight, collapses for shipping and can be deployed relatively quickly. Because of my experience in architecture, I think about how fabrication and construction influence form and how the constraints of a project - site, budget, shipping, logistics, time, available labor - can serve to inspire and stir up a creative process rather than undermine it.