devorah sperber: american gothic thread works
 
devorah sperber: american gothic thread works devorah sperber: american gothic thread works
dec 18, 2011

devorah sperber: american gothic thread works

‘after grant wood (american gothic) 3’, 2010 by devorah sperber images courtesy devorah sperber

new york city based artist devorah sperber recreates famous works of art by forming her pieces from a substantial collection of thread spools and found objects. her body of work explores the connection between art, human biology and technology.

sperber’s upside-down spool sculptures create a visual experience directly connected to the method in which one’s brain must piece together sensory data in a clear, physical representation. the flow of information from the eyes to the brain is known as ‘top-down processing’. with each spool of thread being a dot of color, equivalent to that of a ‘pixel’, the human eye is able to recognize the larger visual pattern once witnessed through a clear convex surface. this process re-sizes the piece in such a way that the observer does not fixate on the individual spools of thread, but rather on the work as a whole. sperber’s works prime the brain to comprehend the entirety of her works; once the viewer sees the larger image, his or her brain cannot see the spools comprising the piece without recognizing their influence on the visual imagery as a whole.

the third and most recent of her ‘after grant wood (american gothic)’ series was commissioned by the memorial art gallery of the university of rochester, new york, USA and completed in 2010. each of the 4,392 thread spools comprising the piece measure 1 3/4 inches tall and are suspended from a stainless steel ball chain hanging apparatus with a clear acrylic sphere upon a metal stand set in front through which to view the piece. in ‘after grant wood (american gothic) 3’ the artist provided substantial spool ‘pixel’ resolution at 4,392 spools compared to the earlier versions of 500 and 986, making this work the highest resolution of the series.

‘after grant wood (american gothic) 3’, 2010, by devorah sperber 4,392 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic sphere, metal stand 107 x 90 inches (thread only) x 120 inches depth (viewing sphere location)

‘I cannot think of a topic more stimulating and yet so basic, than the act of seeing– how the human brain makes sense of the visual world‘. – devorah sperber

left: ‘after grant wood (american gothic) 1’, 2006, devorah sperber 500 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic viewing sphere, metal stand 30’h x 25’w (thread only), variable height up to 133′ (including ball and chain hanging apparatus)right: ‘after grant wood (american gothic) 2’, 2006, by devorah sperber 986 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic viewing sphere, metal stand 39.75’hx35.5’w (thread only), variable height up to 133′ (including ball and chain hanging apparatus)

the brain requires very little to make sense of visual imagery as indicated in the the lower resolution ‘after grant wood (american gothic)’ pieces in which the viewer is still able to meld the spools into a recognizable image. 

‘after monet (water lilies) 2’, 2009, by devorah sperber 4560 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic viewing sphere, metal stand 66.5 x 99 (thread only) by 60 inches

‘after monet (water lilies) 2’, 2009, by devorah sperber (detailed view) 4560 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic viewing sphere, metal stand 66.5 x 99 (thread only) by 60 inches

‘after cezanne (still life) 2009’, by devorah sperber 1470 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic viewing sphere, metal stand 41×52 (thread only) by 60 inches

‘after cezanne (mont sainte victoire)’, 2009, by devorah sperber 1512 spools of thread, stainless steel ball chain and hanging apparatus, clear acrylic viewing sphere, metal stand 42×52 (thread only) by 60 inches

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