Color can be transcendent. Take the color blue, for example. What images are conjured when you spot a bit of royal, indigo or turquoise? Cool water, vast skies, precious jewels, sad memories? For many people, blue induces feelings of calm and serenity; for others, vibrancy or enlightenment.
For international installation artist Margo Sawyer, the color blue inspired the creation of a magical metropolis called “BLUE.”
“BLUE” has been described as a miniature city, an Oriental carpet, an ocean and a garden just out of reach, with thousands of handcrafted elements. These elements reference Sawyer’s world travels to exotic places like the Indian city of Jodhpur, where blue doors, windows and steps follow the Brahmin tradition. Upon closer inspection, universal visions of blue skies and bodies of water are interrupted with earth elements, objects and reflective surfaces.
This January, Sawyer installs “BLUE” at The Grace Museum in response to its unique historical galleries, and creates “REFLECT,” featuring new work as an ongoing conversation with the past and present. The site–specific installation “BLUE” was originally created during Sawyer’s 1998 Austin Museum of Art residency program at Laguna Gloria. In 2018, The Grace acquired “BLUE” through an unprecedented collaboration with the Contemporary Austin and the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas Austin.
Sawyer’s large-scale art installations emerged from her observations of sacred architecture. From this research, she creates sculptural topographies mapping terrain that is part architecture and part landscape.
“I’m interested in the relationship between space and transcendence as explored in Buddhism and Hinduism,” she explains.
The Texas-based artist was born in 1958 in Washington, D.C., and raised in London, where she received most of her formal education. Now a professor of Sculpture and Extended Media in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, Sawyer also founded and directs 1/4 Hora Project Space, an alternative space in Elgin.
Sawyer is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and exhibits her work nationally and internationally in locations such as Japan, India, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. If you’re a traveler, keep an eye out for some of Sawyer’s large public works displayed in prominent cities such as London, New York and Indianapolis. Or if you’re driving through Texas, you can catch her colorful art displays in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.
One thing is for certain: You can expect to see more of her. As with any traveler, she is always looking forward to the next place that will inspire a new color creation.
“MARGO SAWYER: BLUE”
On view at The Grace Museum Jan. 23-Aug. 8