PORTLAND, ORE – Ritual 660’, a deftly crafted installation by artist Abigail McNamara, engages the observer’s aesthetic senses while it asks us to contemplate a largely unconsidered aspect of our workday world. McNamara’s installation, which opens August 11th at the Portland Building, employs a floor to ceiling wall of string—each strand coated with beeswax and pigment—to elegantly graph the pedestrian traffic at one of the city’s busiest downtown building complexes.
“The patterns of the working world are carefully constructed. We follow the familiar pathways of prescribed norms—nine to five, Monday through Friday, one hour for lunch. The masses move together along this framework. I am examining this strict human-made structure to reveal the organic forms which underlie it.”
Each string in Ritual, 660’ represents a single minute of a day at the Portland Building. From 7:00 am to 6:00 pm on June 29, 2014, McNamara observed all of the comings and goings through the building’s entrance. To give form to her findings, she devised the floor to ceiling string-graph and waxed the individual strands to indicate the size of the flow both in and out of the doors. Those entering were indicated above a knot in the string, thoseexiting were indicated below the knot; colored form was placed within the strings to expose the shape of the daily migration.
McNamara sees her installation as a way to comment on the organic patterns and forms that can be derived from our daily lives:
“Activity ebbs and flows within the established workday. Bodies move in swarms or in solitude along currents. The shapes of these movements oppose the rigid structure of the work week. Paths build upon one another as each person moves in, out, and through the building. Individuals gradually flow from here to there and the populace of the building swells and shrinks like changing tides.”
About the Artist: A native of Missoula, Montana, Abigail McNamara received her B.A. in Studio Art from Lewis & Clark College in 2012. She has exhibited her work nationwide and recently received a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission to support the execution of her upcoming installation at Duplex Collective in Portland. In 2013, she was selected as an artist-in-residence by Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts as well as Grin City Collective. She currently works and lives in Portland. For additional information and images of her work visit: abigailmcnamara.com
Viewing Hours & Location: The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in down-town Portland and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday.
For more information on the Portland Building Installation Space, including images, proposals, and statements for all projects dating back to 1994, go to www.racc.org/installationspace.