Transparent, enmeshed forms made of Waken Glass, a new medium developed by Upterior that unites glass and copper, transition immaterial elements of the artist’s visual language into three dimensions. The exhibition engages nature’s durational cycles of preservation and decay using real and virtual ornithological elements. A celestial union emerges, transforming the gallery into a hybrid aviary.
Subsurface Hell, Ludy’s inaugural solo exhibition with the gallery, presented a series of the artist’s investigations into organic environments. Clouds (2018) are a series of animated reliefs that render billowing canopies of water vapor into rhythm. The resulting landscape is mediated by generative motion of layered texture and color. New works in Unearth compound this methodology, casting abstract ephemerality into physical structures of Waken Glass. Perches (2018) appear empty, even vulnerable, floating in a tuft of blackened copper mesh. However, their glistening surfaces act as an offering, or site of potentiality that nods to the transience of the natural world.
As the exhibition continues, the spirit of an aviary unfolds. Nests (2018), sculptural habitats for imagined birds, sit opposite a live streamed projection of nature cams. Frequently used for wildlife habitats or nature preserves, these video feeds allow viewers to observe wildlife online. A view of the gallery is broadcast in addition to an off-site sculpture. Trough (2018) exists as a live streamed artwork, resting motionless atop a plinth in a nondescript high-rise. The sculpture remains unaffected as the world around it turns; birds soar and the sun repeats its daily ritual of rising and setting. Trough offers a similar experience to that of Perches and Nests—its silence calls for attention. The sculptures inspire pause, a characteristic typically required for Ludy’s time-based work. Action is withheld from the artworks in an effort to accentuate the surrounding environment. In the case of Trough, this environment is a sky occupied by birds, nesting in a neighboring sanctuary. The nature cam of the gallery projects a similar strategy with the use of augmented reality birds. Only visible within the live stream, the virtual birds pass by silently. The oscillation between nature cams further obscure the duality of lived experience and simulation. All streamed content is hosted online at birdsmadeearth.com.
Astral influences abound in Ludy’s work, encouraging the astronomical connection of the photo Cygnus (2019). The constellation, depicting a swan in flight with wings outstretched, is only visible in isolated environments free of light pollution and cloud coverage. This elusive quality positions Cygnus somewhere between real and imagined. Refract (2018–19) also exists between these temporalities. While created with digital technology, the artwork is brought from the screen to canvas. The digital painting reflects imagery seen by the artist as varying layers of fractal depth. Prisms fold and disperse, unraveling the image plane like the reflective qualities of Waken Glass. Core Samples(2018) also speak to the stars, encapsulating explosive, stellar reactions. Shapes of molten copper imitate figures seen within the Clouds series. Light beams bound off of Core Samples and the suspended sculptures, Prisms (2018). The artworks glow like pixels, transmuting the luster of the virtual world into winking stars.
Unearth is created in collaboration with Upterior. Upterior invests into research and development of new materials with applications in design, art, and architecture. All sculptures in the exhibition were created by Sara Ludy using patent-pending technology behind Waken Glass™ from Upterior. Through innovation and design, the company aims to strengthen and elevate the relationship between the person and the physical world. For more on Upterior and the invention of Waken Glass, visit www.upterior.com and Instagram @upterior.