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Anna Von Mertens is presenting her work throughout the weekend as the stage installations / backdrops of each of the 3 Town Hall concerts. Her work has been shown in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, MFA Boston, Berkeley Art Museum, deCordova Museum, Sara Meltzer Gallery, and in galleries large and small all over the country.
These three Gray Area pieces explore the nuances in between the seductive simplicity of black and white thinking. Each piece uses a property of water in its stitch pattern to illustrate the capacity for cyclical return, letting go, and opposite forces coexisting.
Gray Area/Ekman Spiral 2004, hand-stitched, hand-dyed cotton, 82” x 91”
The Ekman Spiral, a diagram of which is worked into this piece's stitch pattern, is a phenomenon of how water is affected by both surface wind and the Coriolis effect. Instead of the expected outcome of water being pushed in the direction of the wind, because of the hidden dynamics of the Coriolis effect and friction, water is pushed under the surface in ever decreasing amounts in a rotating direction. At the deepest part of this spiral, a small amount of water is actually headed in the opposite direction of the surface wind. The net transport of water ends up being ninety degrees perpendicular to the direction of the wind, and accounts for upwellings along the coast of California and other locations.
Gray Area/Ocean Currents 2004, hand-stitched, hand-dyed cotton, 82” x 91”
As part of this triptych, Gray Area/Ocean Currents shows various micro and macro currents of the world's oceans. Stitched arrows depict individual currents; cycles of the major oceans; and, on the largest scale, the circulation of water from the surface to the bottom and back again. This massive conveyor belt travels through all of the world's oceans, taking a thousand years to carry one drop of water from warm to cold, shallow to deep.
Gray Area/Maximum Ebb at San Francisco Bay Entrance 2004, hand-stitched, hand-dyed cotton, 82” x 91”
Gray Area/ Maximum Ebb at San Francisco Bay Entrance uses the exiting tidal patterns of the San Francisco Bay as the basis for its stitch pattern. Using AutoCAD, the arrows of the ebbing tide were then rotated three-dimensionally. As the arrows cascade away, the stitching thread fades from black through the gray scale and disappear into white.