Room to Show

Four Cuban-American women get their due at the Frost

To prepare for Room for Eden (To Ana) — her sculptural, photographic, site-specific installation at the Frost — Martinez-Cañas spent a month snapping pictures of dense woodlands in upstate New York.

The artist slightly manipulated the negatives and printed the photographs on newsprint, which she plastered floor to ceiling on three of the gallery walls and coated with beeswax, giving the images an aged sepia tone. She created an almost dreamy arbor of curly willow branches that reach out from the gallery walls, transporting the spectator to a haunting nature trail. Some of the branches are drying out, and others are green, suggesting organic growth in the meditative installation. An unoccupied child-scale chair sits in the middle of the room, sprouting branches, while an almost umbilical growth snakes from the wall to the seat.

The overall effect is that of a restaged spectacle of nature, a chillingly silent and impenetrable forest far away from the swaying palm trees, tropical heat, and chattering students outside.

Closeup of Maria Martinez-Cañas's Room for Eden (To 
Ana)
Closeup of Maria Martinez-Cañas's Room for Eden (To Ana)

These artists take aim at the heart of how architecture and the physicality of space shape our daily reality and our perceptions of the world. And more often than not, they connect.

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