Squares/Color Installation III. New York City. Columbia University studio visit. 2011. Installation. Water color on transparent paper, nales, candels. 246cm x 300cm.
I had the pleasure of seeing "Color Installation III/Squares" by the German artist, Julia Neuberger at LeRoy Neiman Gallery in New York City in Spring 2012. It is a large work composed of pieces of hand-painted paper. The artist uses a medium she has a long history with, watercolor. Both viewing situations were very different. A crowded gallery opening that allowed me to view not only the work but how viewers responded to it. Then I returned to it alone during off hours.
It was a fairly typical gallery opening; a large group show where the unifying factor seemed to be that the participants attended the same University. This Julia’s participation in it a welcome surprise as she comes from a different background than the other students. A wealth of art historical knowledge on her part and travel lend the work sophistication beyond her peers in the exhibit.
I general find it difficult to view art at openings so I concentrated primarily on how others viewed the works on display. Julia’s piece had a fragility to it that seemed to keep engaged visitors wary of getting too close. They examined it from about a foot away then stepped back to take the piece in its entirety. The time spent with this work was noticeably longer than the others on view; I came back to contrasting it with a video by another artist in close proximity. Viewers did not stay for the entire loop of. If Julia’s work was time based, how much time was one suppose to spend with it to fully understand it? I thought of the day passing and the light changing on the translucent paper. I kept coming back. My perception of time is changing. The piece provided a meditational experience that transported me away from the other works of art on display in the gallery. One got lost in it.
Her work operates on many levels from the personal to the formal. It is subtle yet takes up a large physical space. When I questioned her about it I found myself learning about her family and childhood. Here is an artist willing to take risks and explore new territory and mediums while using herself and multitude of experiences as a starting point. VIRGINIA INÉS VERGARA, NEW YORK CITY, 2012