Shelter & Shadow


Artist's Statement

I construct viewer-interactive, sculptural installations in order to focus viewers on bodily sensations, such as kinesthesia, smell, hearing, and touch. Visceral responses are often dismissed as sources of knowledge in our visually oriented culture. The formal, visual elements of my installations are important but are not my primary concern.

The spaces of my installations are metaphors for physical-emotional states. Most often the bases for my installations are observed physical sensations. These sensations accumulate a variety of responses and memories into the piece as I work on it, like a rolling snowball. Often the installation falls back on childhood memories as well as current emotional issues.

Shelter & Shadow is about ways I search for well-being, about the expansion and narrowing of focus that naturally occur as emotional focus shifts, and about showing one's self or hiding, seeing or being seen. Some of the spaces in this installation reflect ways in which I distance myself from experience and don't allow myself to be fully present and aware: ways I hide from myself and others. Another side of Shelter & Shadow provides the possibility of being fully present, aware of the surrounding space, and feeling grounded. In this space there is relatively little emotional "scatter" in the sense of being distracted by competing urges, obligations, worries, etc. I want to give viewers a chance to reflect on their own physical and emotional sensations in the spaces of this installation and to compare notes with me.

— Ingrid Lahti, July 1995