Photo Flash: Karlis Rekevics Creates Live Artwork to Celebrate Staten Island's Architecture
NYC Parks' Art in the Parks program has announced Karlis Rekevics as the 2013 recipient of the Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award. All-Too-Familiar Tangle, a site specific sculpture made of cast hydrocal inspired by the architecture and infrastructure in and around Stapleton, Staten Island will be on view in historic Tappen Park from June 27 through June 2014. The $10,000 award is granted annually in memory of Clare Weiss, Parks' Curator of Public Art from 2005 to 2009. Scroll down for a sneak peek at the sculpture!
Rekevics is drawn to the overlooked part of our urban landscape that we regularly see but rarely register: bridge supports, store facades, guardrails, signs, and scaffolding. After documenting notable forms and architecture around the park, Rekevics created a series of wooden molds that combine recognizable elements in altered scales. He never creates casts directly from objects, but instead builds his works from memory. The result is a fragmented, amalgam of forms, very similar to how we recall memories. This method creates an environment that has a vaguely familiar quality, but is not immediately identifiable
Rekevics says, "While the sculptures take their starting point from real places, they are more about the way that memory and my improvisational process transforms them into a new place with a physical and metaphorical language."
The monumental All-Too-Familiar Tangle references the wooden bollards that line the coast near the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the neo-classical limestone columns and rounded portico entryway of the landmarked Staten Island Savings Bank located at 81 Water Street. Further investigation reveals the dormer window details from the park's historic Village Hall conflated with the defining form of the sculpture, a wall-like structure with three peaks and low windows that echoes the distinctive pink design that covers the face of 7 Beach Street.
The sculpture for Tappen Park is made of cast hydrocal (white gypsum cement) and has been poured into wooden molds. The final work will was revealed when the molds were removed, exposing the surface's raw physicality that maintains a surface impression suggestive of the construction method.
This piece will be a continuation of Rekevics' body of sculptural work that has been exhibited at the Triangle Arts Gallery, Sculpture Key West, SculptureCenter, MoMA P.S. 1, the Altria annex of the Whitney Museum, Dartmouth College, the New York Studio School gallery, and the DUMBO Arts Festival. Karlis Rekevics attended the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Clare Weiss (1966-2010) was the former Public Art Curator for Parks. During her tenure she curated more than 100 outdoor public art installations throughout the city and organized complex, thought-provoking, and visually compelling thematic exhibitions for the Arsenal Gallery. Clare's passion, humanity, energy, courage, and collaborative zeal were valued by all who knew her. The Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award is granted annually to one emerging artist. The location changes annually, and is determined based on the site's visibility and location within a neighborhood historically underserved by public art. Started in 2011, former recipients include Ruth McKerrell at Ft. Greene Park, Brooklyn (2011) and Katherine Daniels at Joyce Kilmer Park, the Bronx (2012).
This year's exhibition was made possible through generous support by the friends of Clare Weiss. Additional organizational support was provided by the Friends of Tappen Park. Rekevic's work was selected from 48 entries by a jury comprised of curator and art critic Karen Wilkin, sculptor Willard Boepple, and Parks' Public Art Coordinator Jennifer Lantzas. To help sustain the Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Fund, please contact the Office of Public Art at (212) 360-8163 for information on contributing.
NYC Parks' Art in the Parks program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in New York City parks. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/parks/art.