It starts with a sheet of vinyl. Actually, sheets of vinyl, all connected in irregular lines by one, long continuous zipper. Abbie Miller's works are interesting enough when they lie flat, but the fun really begins when she lays the vinyl on an armature and zips it up.
"This isn't dominatrix-style," jokes I.D.E.A. Space curator Jessica Hunter-Larsen. "When you describe the work it sounds a little like it, but Abbie Miller is transforming the vinyl from line, to plane, to three-dimensional object."
Miller's sculpture is a part of I.D.E.A.'s newest show, Extending the Line, which is part of the "What's My Line?" theme of Colorado College's 15-year-old Cornerstone Arts Week. Events between Jan. 26 and 31 include a talk from three-time U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (who will be interviewed in next week's issue), another art show in Coburn Gallery devoted to print and fiber works from Jean Gumpper and Jeanne Steiner, and site-specific performances from dance duo HIJACK. At its core, "What's My Line?" explores connections among theater, dance, mathematics and visual art.
"It's a lovely conversation on the meaning of line," says Hunter-Larsen. "There's something in it for everyone. The theme flows through the exhibition. It follows lines in two dimensions with artists who work with lines and art on loan from the [Colorado Springs] Fine Arts Center. It looks at 3D lines in the form of fiber arts and thread, weaving, and choreographed movement. Then it looks at 4D video."
4D? According to Hunter-Larsen, it's the final permutation of the line. It is the line as movement captured in time via stop-motion film, time being the dimension captured through the medium of film.
Textile artist and sculptor Krysten Cunningham of Los Angeles has a couple of 4D pieces in the show. She also has an evolutionary sort of piece that begins with students communally constructing a weaving in an industrial context.
"She uses choreographed movement to do the weave," Hunter-Larsen explains. "That's not as twee as it sounds. It's exploring weaving as movement, as a product of communal labor; lines in space, implying the body."
Chicago fiber artist Anne Wilson's contribution ends in performance, as well. "She starts with thread drawing — sketches in thread on paper," Hunter-Larsen says. "She then creates performance pieces based on this, then weaves those elements into animated video pieces, coming full circle by using threads as the primary focus of the animation."
Also working with nods to performance art are German multimedia artist Susan Hefuna and Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti's piece "Notationotations," and local artist Senga Nengudi's "RSVP" series. Larsen says these "address line's relationship to the body. Engaging elements of performance, their works tease out the relationship between representational line and lines created through bodily motions."
Lest we mislead, not everything in Extending the Line is performance. Also on tap are those drawings and prints on loan from the FAC, which are foundational to the entire exhibit. The two-dimensional studies include geometric works from Sol LeWitt, the play of arcs from Herbert Bayer, and even some lines in motion from William Anastasi.