Our first post about the art exhibits hosted at Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library was such a success, we thought it would be fun to turn it into a series.  Good thing our writer-in-the-field for New York was up to the task!  Rebecca Rubenstein returns to the site today to share more from this remarkable program that connects the community with great art. Enjoy! ~Erinn

Sideways Installation. Wire mesh and paint.

Sideways Installation by Annette Cords. Wire mesh and paint.

by Rebecca Rubenstein

This month I continued my conversation with Arezoo Moseni, the Senior Art Librarian at the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library. Her current exhibitions on view at the Mid-Manhattan Library bring together the work of Liz Sales and Annette Cords.

As I learned more about each artist and their work I realized that for both of them, the process that goes into producing their work is not simply a means to an end, but instead becomes an integral component within the overall concept of their final pieces.

Liz Sales’ exhibition, The Mind’s Eye is the inaugural exhibit of the “Photo Walls in the Picture Collection Exhibition Series.”  Sales built the camera that produced the photos in this series. The lens of her camera is a crystal ball. Some of her compositions in this series transport me to worlds that Madeleine L’Engle could have written about or environments that Dorothy might have seen in her travels through Oz. The mysterious narrative of each photograph intrigued me. The objects displayed as part of the “Art in the Windows Exhibition Series” uncovered some of the mystery of how the photographs are made. Sales’ camera, with the crystal ball lens was displayed in the windows along with some of the items she likes to photograph.

Credits: Top row by Arezoo Moseni.  Bottom row by Liz Sales.

11_This Folder May Contain Clippings and Other Ephemeral Material..., 2012 -¬ Liz Sales.

This Folder May Contain Clippings and Other Ephemeral Material. Photograph by Liz Sales.

Sales created an artists’ book as well which is displayed near her main series of photographs in the Picture Collection. Some of the items in This Folder May Contain Clippings and Other Ephemeral Material… were found in the Picture Collection (where The Mind’s Eye photo series is currently exhibited) filed under the word “camera.” Sales also reproduced items for the book that she found throughout New York City. In addition to her artistic endeavors Sales works in the library at the International Center for Photography (ICP) in New York City. She has cataloged herself (as a human being) among other places, in WorldCat and the ICP Library’s Online Catalog. Sales thinks of the library as a “multiverse” and adds, “when I am reading, I enter someone else’s universe.”

When I am reading, I enter someone else’s universe. ~Liz Sales

Her view on library research that is unaided by the use of computers also intrigues me. By using physical library materials she believes the researcher is able to happen upon materials they might not have come across by only conducting online research. When reviewing physical materials one is not drawn to the “most popular” or the “most viewed” results as might be the case when conducting online research.

Like Liz Sales, Annette Cords has a similar connection with libraries. She states, “books contain worlds within them and it is a personal and intimate experience to open one and read it.” Additionally she states, libraries “encompass the potential for discovery and knowledge very much like art does.”

Annette Cords’ installation, Sideways is part of the “Art in the Corner Room Exhibition Series.” And her Jacquard tapestries series Tandem Mass hangs as part of the “Art Wall on Third Exhibition Series.” The wire and mesh sculptures of Sideways has a connection to the patterns within the Jacquard tapestries of Tandem Mass. The patterns within these tapestries are so complex and intriguing they become small worlds that drew me into the work even further.  In Sideways some of the wire and mesh within the sculptures was hand woven by Cords. Her process, as she negotiates between the handmade and the digital, becomes a point of focus in her work. The Jacquard loom is a computer that can produce complex patterns in fabric. Through the use of weaving software the loom works with the digital images that Cords creates and produces the tapestries according the specifications of her digital images.

Photographs by Arezoo Moseni (1 and 2) and Annette Cords (3).

Jacquard Tapestry.  Woven Cotton.  Photograph by Annette Cords.

Jacquard Tapestry. Woven Cotton. Photograph by Annette Cords.

Additionally, the artist questions space-time concepts within physics. She challenges the viewer within these terms­—can a straightforward grid turn into a more free flowing organic form? And what happens when it does? As I walked around these sculptures the layers of mesh seem to morph, forming more complex, overlapping formations encompassing both the positive and negative spaces surrounding the sculptures.

Both art and science attempt, in one form or another, to make sense of the world. ~Annette Cords

Cords points out that “both art and science attempt, in one form or another, to make sense of the world.” Arezoo Moseni comments that, “both fields involve imagination.” And I would add that creative determination is an ideal quality to have in both these fields. What is your take on the merging characteristics of these two fields?

I asked Cords what her thoughts were on the library as gallery space. She stated that, “showing my work in an everyday setting, where it is part of the day-to-day activities of other people is very exciting. While showing in spaces that are solely designated for art is great, I am equally interested in bringing the work back into the everyday.”

Cords and Sales love of exploration and discovery has certainly been translated into their artwork. I was able to discover something new that captivated me each time I viewed their respective art pieces. The more I learned about them, the more I wanted to know!


rebecca_rubensteinRebecca Rubenstein is an artist who earned her MFA from from Pratt Institute before enrolling as an MSLIS student at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University. She recently completed an internship with the Librarian for Fine Art at New York University’s Bobst Library. One of her projects there was to build a Lib Guide which includes online and print professional development resources for visual artists. She currently works in the eLibrary of an educational software company. Visit her website at www.rebeccaprojects.com.

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