After the Tsunami, a Year of Blue, 2006

Hand-dyed and knitted linen thread
6 x 60 inches

Exhibited:
2010 – Patterns and Shadows, Ruth S. Harley University Center Gallery and Fine Arts Exhibition Hall, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
2009 – So Close Yet So Far Away, International Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale, Korean-Chinese Cultural Center Gallery, Incheon, Korea
2009 – Patchogue Arts Biennial, Patchogue, NY
2008 – Still Waters, Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, NY

One day after the tsunami swept across Indonesia at the end of 2004, I cast 200 stitches of pale blue linen thread onto large bamboo knitting needles and began to try and knit a wave. My material was thin white line flax dyed in a large pot in my kitchen. As I used up one batch of thread, I dyed more. The color changed from blue to gray, and lavender, then greener, then back to blue. I knitted almost every day as news of the disaster and slow recovery reached the outside world. By the anniversary of the wave, the fragile net was over sixty feet long, but weighted less than four pounds. Hung from the ceiling it cast wavelike shadows. The ocean had shown its power and was quiet again; the project was done.

Excerpt from Still Waters exhibition write up by curator Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos:

Marcia Widenor’s… works evince their interest in the future of our planet. This show’s title Still Waters… implies myriad meanings but very importantly engages with the subject of catastrophic events concerning water or its absence. Widenor deals with tsunami or seismic waves that have recently devastated parts of the world. Her delicate wavelike membranes hang from the gallery ceilings that emulate the undulating nature of ocean waves. Yet, her woven lacelike forms belie the idea of disaster in their extreme fragility. Her installation After the Tsunami… consists of loosely knitted hand-dyed linen threads forming veils that confront the viewer as much as envelop him into their midst. Because Widenor’s installations are loosely woven, they are transparent and light and can move with the atmosphere’s air currents. As much as they are reminiscent of ocean waves, they can also be read in terms of protective shelters or as hollow forms reminiscent of forts, tree houses, and other childhood hideouts where precious objects were stashed.

Widenor states that her forms are born from “the structure and texture of organic materials. The picture formed in the mind’s eye gradually becomes a place, an enterable sculpture, a tent, a shelter, a hallow tree or cupboard. The installations emerge from childhood memories, from the experience of working with seriously ill children in hospitals and from a yearning for safety and calm. The world is not safe or calm anymore.” Widenor’s constructions act as membranes that can afford us in their folds, a locus wherein we can hide from the storm at least temporarily.