So, I've been wanting to visit the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC for some time now to see the Wonder Exhibit that's been open since November. We finally made our way down there this past week, and WOW - this exhibit did not disappoint! The exhibit as a whole was really inspiring through the sheer size and meticulousness of each installation that has the potential to delight young and old alike. The staff was extremely courteous which elevated the accessible feeling of the artwork on display.
From towering mountains of index cards by Tara Donovan to meandering in & out through the giant willow structures by Patrick Dougherty, the Wonder exhibit, as a whole, is truly art as experience. In a separate room, a larger than life prism constructed only of embroidery thread by artist, Gabriel Dawe, is truly breath-taking. Chakaia Booker's labyrinth of recycled tires was especially resonating with my 5 year old and the girls spent a little extra time taking in the brilliance of Jennifer Angus's insect wallpaper, as my middle child called it. One of the staff, Officer Williams, really took some extra time with our girls explaining some of the finer points of Angus's piece, "In The Midnight Garden," which really enriched their enjoyment of the art - Thanks Officer Williams!
John Grade's "Middle Fork (Cascades)" was so very enormous and one simply cannot overstate the presence of this piece. The way the artist chose to install it suspended from the ceiling almost (but not quite) touching the floor, and the way it consumed the room it was installed in was quite thrilling as though the tree belonged there and not you. Maya Lin's to scale model of the Chesapeake Bay watershed with glass marbles really floored the children. One of them said to me, "Why did they let her do that?! The glue is going to ruin the floor and walls!" Lin's work is a sight to behold as the marbles have a organic affect like they're growing on the walls. When traveling up and down the stairs from one level to the next, you are entertained by the twinkling lights of Leo Villareal's ethereal light sculpture that almost seems to dance while you're underneath it.
The part of the exhibit that made the most lasting effect on us, though, was Janet Echelman's piece titled "1.8." Surging transforming colored light is cast on a suspended net that simulates the waves of a Tsunami. A large & luxurious wavy gray carpet, complete with jumbo floor pillows for lounging, beg the visitor to lay on the floor, look up to the ceiling and be in the moment of the art's changing look with each lighting change. It gives you a feeling of being underwater that is peaceful and transcendental. Please enjoy this slide show of some of our favorite shots from our visit to the Renwick's Wonder Exhibit & as always - Happy Designing!