• Priya Tambe

What Lies Beneath ...

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

When the Rye Arts Center invited me last Fall to exhibit at their January 2020 Show, Paperworks, I was excited! Besides my other wall works, I proposed an installation. Several sketches and models later, it became an "immersive" experience, complete with lights and sounds.

The purpose of the installation was twofold - 1. To provide an immersive space that allows the viewer to pause and connect with nature at a deeper level, while appreciating its fragility; and 2. To showcase beautiful, sustainable hand-made papers from around the world.

I designed the top frame of the installation to hang a few inches below ceiling height, so I could accommodate lights, covered by layers of paper referencing waves seen from "above the ocean." Everything under that was "What Lies Beneath", the installation's namesake. My goal when I created the space "below" the frame was to transport the viewer to the depths of the ocean and to be reminded of its beauty and fragility. To that end, I started by creating an encaustic painting of abstract waves on thin mulberry paper to allow light to come through from "above" into the ocean. I then created many abstracted forms suspended in the "ocean" with bakers twine, to give them the feel of floating objects. Other forms were attached and scattered throughout the ocean. Finally, I created a layered paper formation to reference the ocean bed. And added ocean sounds.

The best part of the installation was watching people walk into it and feel removed from this world, entering the serene, complex, and fragile world of underwater beauty!

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