May 3 Visit to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery

The Renwick Gallery is one-of-a-kind museum that dazzles the eyes and blows the mind! It features magnificent, colorful art made from all types of materials, and in Cyclopean sizes in its huge rooms with two-story high ceilings. During our visit, the Renwick Gallery displayed an exhibit called “Wonder,” with masterful artworks by well-known artists such as Jennifer Angus, Chakaia Booker, John Grade, and Maya Lin. As a child, Lin played with green glass balls her loving father had created. As an artist, she modeled the Chesapeake Bay with these light green balls, covering the floor, walls, ceilings and even the heat/air vents to display the exact topography and mapping.

There were willow osiers and saplings woven into enormous pods or little houses that create a sanctuary, giving us a great desire to own one in our own backyards to enjoy with family and friends! There was a massive suspended colorful net hanging from the ceiling, displaying a different view every time one gazes at it. Artist Tara Donovan used thousands of styrene index cards to create ten towers/looming spires that seem so natural and real. Then there were dazzling waves of colored light using thousand miles of embroidery thread, covering floor to ceiling and back with only a small space in the center.

The display of colored insects ranging from very small to seven inches created a fascinating design that boggled the mind. Leo Villarreal’s light sculpture is the only work which will remain at the Renwick Gallery, as all other displays will be removed and a few will go back to nature! The sculpture features 320 hanging rods that are encrusted with 23000 LED lights that shimmer, sparkle, shine, in endless non-repeating sequences. Tom Switzer said “It is unbelievable and I would not mind owning it!”

The event was well-attended, with about 60 members and non-members on two guided tours through this amazing Renwick Art Gallery. Thank you Sheila for again entertaining us as no other can. Much appreciation from everyone and that includes me too!

Troella Tyznik

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