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.

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

Photos of "Surface Tension" and "Points of View" as installed at BCA Center, Burlington VT

These images  are of two recent installations of mine created for a solo show in Burlington Vermont that was in place January and February of 2011. Ken Burris did a terrific job of photographing these two room size installations. The black crocheted piece is called “Surface Tension” and is made of over 20,000 ft of hand crocheted black rope. The conical forms are supported via a counterweight system, crocheted sacks loaded with river stones. The room in which this piece is sited is approximately 26′ X 36′ X 10′ .

The Bamboo and reflective tape  artwork is titled “Points of View”. Blue reflective tape was mounted at level on a scaffold of bamboo tetrahedrons. This work alludes to the way water finds its own level and to our human tendency to impose order on a landscape. Visitors to this installation were given headlamps with which to view the work.

BCA show complete! opening reception friday 5-8 pm , jan 14th, 2011

I'm done! Just finished up yesterday afternoon. We added reflective tape to posts and trees in city hall park, extending the "shimmering blue  waterline" in my installation "Points of View"  out into the great landscape beyond the gallery walls. The lighting and final labeling  of the show will be completed by the Gallery staff  this week. Keep in mind that the photos posted here are quick shots taken by me at the end of a long day without finished lighting. I include below the content of  a review of my work written by my friend Andy Sichel, artist and  a former professor of art at Rutger's University.He very generously surprised me with this a couple of days ago,  sending his remarks out via e-mail to his community.

I have watched my brilliant friend Alisa's work as a sculptor and draftswoman evolve and mature over more than a decade now and I wanted to share this with you all.

Her work is informed by her feminist consciousness, her "day jobs" as a Yale trained architect,  teacher at Norwich University (VT) and as the mother of two quickly growing children.

Alisa's work melds a thorough and considered understanding of art history with the tenacity of sticking with an initially wise and equally considered choice of "art parents" whom I see as extending from Shamanism through the Artisanal and site specific works of the middle ages, the Utopian visionary, architecturally schooled sculptors and painters of the High Renaissance and Mannerist periods into Dada and Surrealism, the Bio-morphism of Archile Gorky/ Abstract Impressionism, early Modernist architecture (and Meret Oppenheim) ,and the obvious continuing thread of her visually acknowledged Feminist and late Modernist "mother" Eva Hesse, whose mere five year tragically abbreviated career staked fervent ground for many lesser and some (older) peer women sculptors like Jacquie Windsor whose work because of its materials and apparent lack of feminist content is sometimes seen as at odds with more avowedly feminist work like Judy Chicago's Dinner Party.

However as women artists continue to be hugely under-represented it seems to me that any woman artist who manages to be seen and acknowledged becomes "Feminist" by virtue of being available as a model of a still marginalized minority. Dworsky's crocheted rope sculptures are certainly per se more avowedly feminist than Louise Bopurgeois' or  Alice Aycock's  work yet their process and scale share the more traditionally "male" muscularity of these more celebrated women artists. Alisa's sculpture has in the past decade spoken to art's role in relation to architecture and/or environment and I'm particularly impressed with the maturation of the crucial component of a cognitive and affective personal visual/conceptual vocabulary in her work. This is what elevates innovative good art, which nominally contributes to the ongoing contemporary art/philosophy discourse (which is sometimes a lot of noise) to art which whilst doing that, echoes above the clamor to a sustained intriguing and ultimately mysterious conversation which is not happening with the intent of an elitist mystification but which invites us in, as with Joseph Cornell's work, and transcends the nuts and bolts de rigeur covered bases to, with luck, become part of the larger enduring historical discourse.

Please share this around!

Best to you and Brava Alisa!


(Andy Sichel)



The installation of my solo show at BCA is almost complete!

I'm exausted but pleased with how the onsite installation phase of my show at the Burlington City Arts is going. "Surface Tension" went up in a day and half. Meanwhile I've been working with 2-4 assistants at a time to construct "Points of View. The images posted here are rough, no great lighting, still work to do but they will give you a sense  of how everything is developing. Remember the opening reception is friday January 14, 5-8 pm. The doors to the show open january 7th at 5 pm. Click the BCA center  link to the right for more info on the location and gallery. See earlier postings about this show for more info.

"Alisa Dworsky: Drawing Strength" opens Friday Jan 7, reception Jan 14 5-8pm

I start installing two new installations and a suite of new prints on January 2nd for my upcoing solo show at the BCA Center ( formerly the Firehouse Gallery), 135 Church street, Burlington VT. See my earlier posts to view these works in progress. " In the exhibit “Drawing Strength”, artist and architectural designer,  Alisa Dworsky, presents prints  and installations. Drawing is at the basis of all the work presented here including the installations. Dworsky intentionally selects linear materials  ( here rope and bamboo)  for her constructions, materials she manipulates to express drawing in three dimensions while defining  space and form. The artist continues her investigation into the ways that human beings interact with the landscape, particularly our compulsion to impose geometric systems on the spaces we occupy. She presents prosaic materials in unusual ways, draws inspiration from architecture and construction, and provokes the viewer to reexamine the way they see their everyday world.  Dworsky uses her art to explore the ambiguity of perception."

Surface Tension, in process in my studio

"Alisa Dworsky: Drawing Strength" opens on Jan 7, 2011 at BCA Center, Burlington VT

The opening reception will be Friday January 14th from 5-8 pm. I'll give an informal artist's talk  at 5 pm that night. Stop by if you are in the area.  I will also try to be around for the Friday January 7th soft opening during friday night art walk in Burlington. The title of my show alludes to the influence of drawing on this new body of work  ( even though there are no drawings in this show) and the title alludes  to the efficient systems of structural support used in these pieces. All the time I've spent building and designing structures has inevitably  had an impact on my art. I consider these new installations a continuation of my "landscape" works . Instead of responding to a landscape outdoors,  I am building a couple of landscapes within the Gallery walls. The installations evolved from my continuing interest  in  the  human tendency to overlay the landscape with geometric systems in an effort to impose order . I enjoy  the  "Middle Ground" that Leo Marx speaks of in his great book, The Machine in the Garden. This middle ground  moment occurs  when culture and nature exert  an equal force on a place , each shaping the other in an aesthetic of  coexistence which Marx speaks of as the true definition of the  pastoral.

I've been crocheting in the past few weeks as I prepare "Surface Tension" for the front Gallery on Church Street. There will be a counterweight system supporting it and I have work to do connecting the elements with more crochet at the floor level. It's coming along. I'm using a "Fillet Crochet " technique to make a cellular pattern. I vary the size of the 'cell" creating subtle tonal shifts in the work. I like this approach because the piece is so graphic, the line quality so evident with this play of positive and negative space at my disposal.  I could almost  write binary code with this technique. Of course the open cells and radiating lines and grids also remind me of computer drawings. The handmade and the digital all wrapped up . I  do use computer graphics as well as hand drawing to rough out the shapes and general approach to the installation.

Also in the slide show are a few details of  the second installation which will be in the show  titled " Points of View". This work is made of poles configured in a web of tetrahedrons on which reflective blue tape is mounted in fragments at a level, creating a tenuous shimmering plane . The hidden order within this "landscape" is only visible from a certain point of view.


Thank you to the Vermont Community Foundation, Arts Endowment Fund for the grant which supported the creation of this new work.

Installations in Process for upcoming solo show, Firehouse Gallery, Burlington, VT

I am creating 2 new installations for this  upcoming show at the Firehouse Gallery, opening friday January 14, 2011. I Consider both installatiosn to be three dimensional drawings. Each piece presents an ambiguity and play between the two dimensional and three dimensional realms. The images shown below are schematic drawings and studies which I have done in preparation for creating the final works.

The first installation titled " Surface Tension" will be made of over 18,000 ft of hand crocheted polyester rope. A series of counterweights, crochted sacks filled with river stones, are connected to the piece with a  rope and pulley system, thereby raising the work off the floor to create a topographical  surface.


The second installation, " Points of View" is made of  a series of poles (painted with white stripes)  that are connected to each other  to create  a matrix of tetrahedrons that will fill the gallery space . With the use of a water level,  pieces of blue reflective tape are mounted on this armature at level. A horizontal datum is established at approximately 5 feet above grade. When viewed from below or above no particular order will be apparent  as to how this tape is positioned yet at a certain view point a level line within this interior landscape will be revealed to the viewer. The work will be lit  by the viewer them-self, wearing a headlamp. The  viewer with headlamp will activate a glow in  the reflective tape while someone standing beside them will not see this phenomenon as their line of sight will not exactly correspond to the trajectory of the lighting source.



"InTension" in the Fabrications exhibit, Newport Mills, NH

My installation, "InTension" , which I exhibited  two years ago at the Brattleboro Museum, has been remounted in the exhibit "Fabrications" sponsored by Cynthia Reeves Projects. My work is now part of a very large  exhibition  of works by 19 artists from around the world which occupies the enormous 3rd floor of the Newport Mills in Newport NH. This should be a great show worth traveling for. I myself can't wait to see the other works installed in the space. Visit the link to "fabrications" on my blogroll and check back frequently as the website is evolving as the show comes together. The origonal installation of "InTension" was funded by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Brattleboro Museum. It's great to see it on exhibit again and this time I took advantage of the great amount of space at the Mill to play with the presentation of the piece....partricularly the placement of the counterweights.

This work is made of nearly 5 miles of handcrocheted polyester rope, river stones and pulleys. The ten "counterweights" support the crocheted enclosure. Ten strands of rope that run from the top of the enclosure, each through  two pulleys to a counterweight  a distance away.

My thanks to Cynthia Reeves and her staff,  Azariah Aker, Anzell Jordon, Sara Mintz, and my assistant Matthew Sargent, for all their help. My deepest gratitude to my husband, Danny, and daughters, Leah and Sonya, who have supported me all along.

Transfer/Transform at The Bennington Museum

My installation, "Tranfer/Transform" went up  at the Bennington Museum last week. It will remain on view through October 31st, 2010 as part of the " State of Craft" exhibit at the Museum.  Here are some of the photos of the Completed project. Please see my entry  on April 4 for text explaining the project.Please see my entry on May 12 for images of the project going up. I have attached a link to the Museum website on my "blogroll". See the slide show below for more images. [slideshow]

Putting up Transfer/Transform at the Bennington Museum

These images are of the process of  completing my installation on site over 2 days, May 10 and May 11.  There were many helpers who jumped in at critical moments  including Jamie Franklin (curator of the Bennington Museum), Tom Moriarity ( head of grounds and maintenance and problem solver extraordinaire), Meg Ostrom  ( curator and  part of the state of craft team),  Allie Lees (Bennington  College student and assistant), Cherie Pfeiffer (Castleton College art student and assistant) and a number of other staff who came outside and helped lift the piece into place. Also my thanks to Anne Majusiak, (co-curator of the State of Craft exhibit) and Steven Perkins(director of the Museum). Thanks also to Don and Bettenelle Miller who gave me a home away from home and fed me so well while I was in Bennington.  And then of course there are the folks who helped to  fund  my work such as the Vermont  Arts Council, The National Endowment for the Arts and the very generous contribution from  E. Candace Forsythe to the museum on behalf of this project. I am so grateful to you all! check out this slideshow of images.


Bennington Museum Installation

Bennington Museum Schematic Design This is a preparatory "Drawing" for an installation that I am currently fabricating in my studio. The final piece will be made of approximately 15,000 feet of  hand crocheted black rope. I am working with 1/4" polyester rope which I manipulate using an oversized hand made crochet hook. In mid  May I'll take my work down to Bennington and over a few days we will wrap the column with my prefabricated sheath and then I'll stitch it up the back side.I will also complete the last few feet of crocheting on site as I expand the  crocheted form to drape on the ground at the base of the column.  All this with the help of some able assistants , a lift and a ladder.

One goal is to have an impact on the facade of the building, to undermine the established symmetry of the columns at the Museum entrance. I am interested in how a work of art can interface  with it's architectural context and potentially transform or amplify the reading of  structure. I  am aware that I bring a traditionally "female" art form to  the transformation of  a neoclassical column , a column  that interestingly blends both the male iconography of the Doric column with the female iconography of the Ionic.  The netlike materiality of this piece may suggest the openwork of a fishnet stocking  or a fishermans net while the choice of black material picks up on  the ironwork throughout that courtyard and the facade.  The gradient pattern ,  which darkens at the base of the work,   emphasizes the  heavy loads bearing down on the column from the Museum's roof  and how these loads are  transfered to the support of the ground plane/ foundation. This approach is inspired by an early warehouse design by the architects Herzog and de Meuron.

The opening is May 22, 2010 and coincides with the opening of the exhibit "The State of Craft". The installation will remain up until November 4, 2010.

Bennington project in process

Here are some process photos of my installation for the Bennnington Museum. First I calculated the form  that wraps the column as a flat shape and then lay it out, full scale, on my studio floor. Then I begin crocheting, using the "fillet Crochet" technique and varying the size of these crocheted cells  to create a gradiant from light to dark. I started with 20  cells across which correspond to the  20 flutes on the column that this will wrap.