Meeting the Clouds Halfway

Terrol Dew Johnson and Aranda\Lasch

Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson

October 29, 2016-January 29, 2017

 

Coiling is the core of the collaboration between Tohono O’odham fiber artist Terrol Dew Johnson and New York and Tucson-based architects Aranda\Lasch. What began as a conversation about the similarities between traditional Native American craft and cutting-edge design became a decade-long exchange that re-imagines an ancient material practice within the needs of a contemporary world. The result of their dialogue is a range of constructions, from baskets to architecture, which suggest cross-cultural sharing as a means of reckoning, manifesting a shared truth that inspires reflection and action.

Meeting the Clouds Halfway presents this new series of objects, which use materials and rituals born from the Sonoran Desert, a region rich in both ancestral wisdom and visionary thinking. For many generations, the Tohono O’odham have coiled baskets out of desert fibers not only for domestic use, but also as a ceremonial meditation that unites art with life. The act of coiling creates form through an intuitive geometric system and iterative movements, building on a set of principles that can be manipulated to create new compositions.

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Meeting the Clouds Halfway evolves Johnson and Aranda\Lasch’s new series of collaborative coil baskets into furniture, and prototypical architectural structures. They produce a landscape of expressions shaped by bear grass, wood, copper, minerals and Ferrock, a new green building material that transforms industrial waste into a high performance ceramic. Through these juxtapositions of materials, strategies, and histories, it becomes apparent that Johnson and Aranda\Lasch use the process of making as a means of understanding each other. Every fiber, each warp and woof of their baskets embodies a discussion about living in the desert and the pursuit of finding a common ground.