Yesterday we visited the newly renovated Renwick Gallery to see the first exhibit, appropriately titled, Wonder. It was all that and more. As soon as you enter, you are drawn up the red carpet staircase to something colorful and luminous beyond. As it turns out, it is an artistic energy map of the Tohoku Tsunami as it rippled across the Pacific Ocean in 2011.
Each room was more wonderous that the next. This wooden sculpture was made from a cast of a 150 year-old tree, used as a form for a half-million hand-carved pieces of reclaimed wood, joined together to recreate the memory of its origins.
Another amazing reference to trees in the landscape was a room full of nest-like pods by Patrick Dougherty. I have long admired his work and was thrilled to experience it in person.
Water, trees and…bugs! And yes, they are real bugs. The bright color on the walls is made of bug juice and the decorations you see here are created out of fanciful patterns of a variety of insects.
Moving from nature to man-made materials, this next piece was created from chards of old tires. You could still smell the rubber.
Next was a piece by Maya Lin, made of thousands of glass marbles. She is famous for the design of the Vietnam Memorial.
Not to be outdone in the category of OCD installations, Tara Donovan created this fantastic series of mounds out of styrofoam cups and index cards. They reminded me of termite mounds.
Begining and ending with light was Plexis A1, a study in illusion. This rainbow is made of string, but for all the world it appears as light itself.
It is truly a wonder what we humans can create to take us beyond our everyday world. If you are in DC, be sure to let yourself go!