Today’s feature comes to us from Carla Lobmier, who is a visual artist working primarily in drawing, painting, and collage. Her work was recently installed at the New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan location. ~Laura


Photo provided by Carla Lobmier.

Scrolls, the format for my large-scale watercolor work painted on vellum, date back to ancient Egypt and precede bound books. Scrolling Confluence is a series of these watercolor pairs installed in Art in the Corner Room, Mid-Manhattan Library, NYC, January through May 2016. In the windows, one panel faces the street, while the other faces the interior, creating interplay between images that shift as the light shifts throughout the day. As the viewer moves clockwise facing 5th Avenue, imagery prompts a world narrative beginning with India and Egypt, continuing with Medieval manuscript illumination, the Renaissance, Japan and the final scrolls referencing the technologically-driven present. All the street-facing vellums are binary code messages with nodes to the culture of the pair. While I am looking at the history of scrolls and books, the history of art images and the vocabulary of painting are also being filtered through my own painterly response.

NYPL link, Art in the Corner Room:

Photo provided by Carla Lobmier.

Photo provided by Carla Lobmier.

This project continues on the third floor. Here is a description of this part of the project:

Scrolling Confluence: Supernova installed in Art Wall on Third, Mid-Manhattan Library, NYC, January through April, 2016, is a companion suite to Art in the Corner Room and consists of ten vertical rice paper scrolls. While each scroll is painted with watercolor, the compositions feature graphite drawing woven into the bursting watercolor paint. The content of this work is more personal and looks at the intuitive in making art and my own practice. Where do ideas come from and how do they burst into an artist’s imagery? How do these ideas expand to become communication with others? Are we aware of meaning as it is forming? Is there something akin to an animal’s instincts that drive the firing of the brain into acts of visual expression?

NYPL link, Art Wall on Third:

Chiaroscuro World Artful Beyond Measure by Carla Lobmier.

Chiaroscuro World Artful Beyond Measure by Carla Lobmier.

There is an Artist Dialogue coming up this Saturday, March 19. I will be in conversation with the Frick’s Rika Burnham about this project.

NYPL Link to An Artist Dialogue:

For Art in the Corner Room, composer Michael Gatonska created six soundscapes to accompany the six sets of my watercolor vellum scrolls for Scrolling Confluence. The soundscapes appear on a YouTube channel that Michael set up for this project. Each soundscape is approximately 3-5 minutes in duration. Listen to the soundscapes on YouTube.

For Art Wall on Third, composer Michael Gatonska created a soundscape to accompany my suite of watercolors on vellum for Scrolling Confluence: Supernova. The soundscape appears on a YouTube channel that Michael set up for this project. This soundscape runs a little over 7 ½ minutes in duration. Listen to the soundscape on YouTube.

The LAIP asked Carla about what it means to have her work displayed at the NYPL, and what are the implications for the work itself.
Scrolling Confluence is a site-specific installation which is not the norm for my work as a painter. While I paint both large-scale watercolors on vellum and acrylic paintings on canvas, panel, and paper, I am not typically concerned with painting that is designed for windows. As well, part of the equation is that the work for Art in the Corner Room has three points of view: exterior, interior and the composition that results from interior and exterior showing through one another. All points of view are also subject to shifts based on changing natural light throughout the day and night. As the artist, this project demanded that I make work bringing all points of view together to make an installation engaging and interesting however the work is viewed. Following the installation of the first pair of scrolls, I could see that the concept was successful.
A Poetry of Sensibility by Carla Lobmier.

A Poetry of Sensibility by Carla Lobmier.

Scrolling Confluence: Supernova on exhibit on Art Wall on Third is a much more traditional way to show painting. The suite of ten rice paper scrolls are framed and under glass as one expects to see art works on display. The scale of the work is much smaller and the viewer encounters this work on the floor of the library that houses the art books and the picture collection. Supernova looks right at home in this context.

The large vellum scrolls are very public in their setting reaching far. New York City is whirling by my watercolors in taxis, on the way to work and to destinations that have nothing to do with both the library or art viewing. Anyone can catch sight of Scrolling Confluence and enjoy the installation as fleeting images or enter into the library for further discovery. It’s thrilling to have my work on 5th Avenue to be looked at in this way.
The content and the images themselves were influenced by this NYPL Mid-Manhattan location. In the planning stages of the project, the curator, Arezoo Moseni, and I discussed the subject for the work. Since the scroll has been a format for my watercolor painting, I hit on the idea of the history of scrolls and books, but also the history of art ideas in different cultures and advancing through time. Does the library setting help viewers to think about history and our communication status as texters and digital scrollers? One viewer wrote in my visitor book that she thought that the room should be emptied of furniture and made into a place for meditation. I love that thought!
View more of Carla’s work and read more about these projects at her website,
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