Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ethereal Substance: The Work of Amy Jean Boebel

ETHEREAL SUBSTANCE: THE WORK OF AMY JEAN BOEBEL -- It starts out as aluminum screen, but sculptor Amy Jean Boebel knows how to coax, bend, shape, mold and extract something from this most mundane and unassuming of building materials that somehow seems quite impossible -- and voila! -- it is transformed into works of art whose organic and often linear beauty seem to defy their origins. But such is the singular talent of Boebel that has been honed over the years regardless of the materials -- be they fabric, paper, glass or found objects -- there is nothing that cannot be pushed further ("as far as it will go," says Boebel) until it becomes whatever she has envisioned in her mind. Working from her space at the Santa Monica Art Studios complex (housed in an historic hangar at the Santa Monica airport -- and which will be open on March 17, 2012 as part of the Santa Monica Airport Artwalk), Boebel is most happiest pushing those artistic boundaries with the challenge being as equally exciting and important as the end result. Her hands-on love of rendering metal into art found its beginnings in the early 1980s, when she created large sculptures inspired by architecture -- with foundations laid during her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tulane University School of Architecture and the University of Maryland where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Boebel has also created wearable art from such diverse and unusual materials as road maps, caution tape, wire, plastic and wire -- achieving recognition for her distinctive fashion as the recipient of two awards from the International World of Wearable Art Show in Wellington, New Zealand. In 2011, Boebel unveiled her most aggressively beautiful and awe-inspiring work "Billow" (top photo) at her Santa Monica studio -- a full room installation measuring 11 feet by 22 feet of aluminum screen transformed into floating "clouds" -- a work that must be viewed by craning one's neck  upward to fully absorb its dreamlike qualities, as eerie shadows from light fixtures above cascade down the walls.  Other works shown here: "Dream" (center); "Shred" (center left); "Brace" (center left bottom); and "Genesis" (center left top).  Boebel is shown manipulating "Inception" in the bottom photo -- a 2012 installation piece measuring eight by ten feet rising seven inches from the studio floor. There is something about this ethereal substance created by Boebel that begs that eternally-asked question when it comes to the making of art: how does she do it? Perhaps the best answer is to visit her studio on March 17 during the Santa Monica Airport Artwalk (or anytime for that matter) and ask Boebel herself. You might be surprised, enlightened or transformed by her answer -- and by what you see!
Santa Monica Airport Artwalk 2012:
All images courtesy Amy Jean Boebel