Thursday, June 11, 2009


One of my most treasured finds this summer is Maya Lin's book entitled "Boundaries." I checked the hardback version out of the public library and took my time pondering her style and her expressions of self and of art. It will be hard to return it as it is a meditation of page and image.

It is poetically done. Thoughtfully and honestly composed.
Blessed work of hands and spirit.

Architecture has always moved me. Historically, I have captured more pictures of man-made materials and their compositions and interactions with light and shade than of human beings. Buildings and their builders speak to me, and I understand this need of architects to build and compose works to sit within the natural world and blend, mimic, manipulate and, sometimes, even dominate it.

Architecture can also an expression of memorial. Lin is most well known for her design for the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial but her work and mind reaches beyond remembrances for the dead. Like Andy Goldsworthy, she respects and plays with natural elements. She puzzles out clues within the land and grants them voice.

And, as she points out, life and art is asymmetrical. "To combine the rational and the intuitive, the straight line and the curve. The one without the other doesn't balance; it is the juxtaposition of the two that informs the whole" (p. 10:04). Architecture then cannot separate the land from the viewer -- building and site must remain fluid and joined.

I was excited to learn that the Corcoran Gallery has a new exhibition of hers on display, and I am looking forward to conversation with the architect herself as she presents her reflections on earth in a world abuzz with technology and environment.

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