Anne Wilson’s success is the meticulous and elegant execution of her complicated conceptual project. The term “theoretical architecture” seems to be used in reference to sculpture pretty gratuitously these days, but Wilson makes it mean something through the visual specificity and internal coherence of her varied body of work. Three of her current projects are on display at Rhona Hoffman, and all involve a continual exchange between the intimate physical process and materials of her object-making and the conceptual structure and built environment of social and political space. “Portable City” is a fantastical field of forty-eight shallow, horizontal vitrines filled with small experimental structures of thread or wire, held together or in tension with small pins. Some are mesh canopies suspended above the white ground or tiny, airy, knitted domes. There are collapsed piles of threads, tightly wound linear networks and tense spring forms. This intricate handwork results in a powerful sense of the potential for portable architecture in a global scene dominated by a need for temporary, efficient and inexpensive housing—without ever losing a sense of the domesticity of the piece’s construction. Wilson extends the principle of “Portable City” with “Wind-up,” the product of a five-day performance during which she and her collaborators wove bright nylon thread across a 17’ x 7’ warping frame. The finished sculpture presents itself as an index of their labor, but it holds its own as an object, and its optical effects capture the simultaneous solidity and eerie openness of “Portable City.” (Rachel Furnari)
Anne Wilson, “Portable City, Notations, Wind Up,” shows at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, 118 North Peoria, (312)455-1990, through March 1.