Published on January 24th, 2013 | by Taylor Majewski0
Interview with Sculptural Artist Stacy Levy
In the initiative to increase access to sustainable energy, artists, like Stacy Levy, have joined the revolution. Though Levy works in many different mediums, she primarily considers herself a sculptor, interested in the relationship between both art and science. Levy works in sculptural media that portrays ecological patterns and processes. Her outdoor installations have been featured around the nation, each work environmentally-friendly and adaptable to its natural surroundings.
Her most recent installation, Straw Garden at the Space Needle in Seattle, will have a second life as a plant source for landscapes in need of rehabilitation. The garden is one of Levy’s many works that exemplifies her Baroque influences as an artist while serving a secondary function to facilitate the green movement.
Many of her works demonstrate a special interest in water patterns like tides, rainfall, water levels and drought. One of her older projects, River Eyelash, employs 3,000 painted buoys, which radiate from the bulkhead of Point State Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The “eyelashes” move in response to the currents and wind.
Levy’s installations also highlight natural processes and their relation to urban settings. Tide Flowers showcased the movements of the Hudson River’s tides using vibrantly colored flowers which bloomed at high tide and closed at low tide. Another piece, Kept Out, was a series of small enclosures meant to keep deer from grazing on saplings in certain areas of the forest. Where is the Moon utilized a laser beam, ring of stones and an empty room to pinpoint the position of the moon at any given moment.
Commissioned for dozens of other projects as well, Levy frequently works with scientists who are experts in a particular field. In Seeing the Path of Wind, 1,300 flags acted as a compass for wind direction and was used to detect incoming storms.
An innovative environmental artist, Levy lets nature tells its own ecological story, drawing attention to environments that are often ignored while capturing peaceful and natural occurrences. Levy took the time to chat with Art Animal about her challenges, inspiration, and how she manages to meld art and science.
Art Animal: What is the most challenging aspect of integrating science and artistic expression?
Stacy Levy: I am not patient enough to be a good scientist. I want to delve in all at once, not wait years to test and monitor. But I think science can use a little impetuosity — tempered by the facts, but taking a new course of exploration.
AA: What most inspires your work?
SL: Not knowing how things in nature work, and needing to explain these to myself (and to all the other people who did not get it).
AA: Do you have a favorite project that you’ve done?
SL: Bushkill Curtain in Easton, Pennsylvania because it changes dramatically with every rainstorm as the Bushkill Creek rises and falls.
AA: Why do you think it is important to create works that tell ecological stories?
SL: I do not think that science should be the sole storyteller for nature.
AA: What sparked your interest in art and science? What made you decide to pursue a career that combines the two?
SL: I ran out of things to say in a white cube of the gallery. I had to go outside, which lead me to see the dynamic of nature and then to realize that dynamism was in every space, indoors and out. Then I could go back to dealing with the white cube knowing that nature was acting upon it in some form.
AA: What necessary steps do you take before executing a project? What is your artistic process?
SL: I try to make my work be more like a verb and less like an adjective.
AA: What do you think is the place of your work in society?
SL: I hope that someone looks differently at rainwater coursing through a parking lot or learns the name of a cloud formation. I really like nature and I want other people to fall in love with nature, too.
To learn more about Stacy Levy and her installations, visit www.stacylevy.com.