Maya Lin recreated the shape of several endangered lakes around the globe into sculptures that could actually be art furniture.
In these 2006 sculptures, Maya Lin captures the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and the Red Sea in exaggerated reverse topographical maps of birch plywood, each appearing to balance on a white pedestal. To create the forms, Maya worked with Benchmark Maps to obtain the information, which she then exaggerated 200 times vertically and had laser-cut. The burnt edges echo the dark depths of the lakes while the untouched raw plywood surface collapses into pure two-dimensionality.
Each lake is a beautiful convergence of art and science, but taken together within the gallery, they collectively transform the air itself, suggesting a chest-level horizon line.
Each work is composed of a single material. Each, configured to evoke a different aspect of landscape, went through the same process of design: creation of a three-dimensional model in Lin’s studio, translation via scanning or plotting into digital drawings, and finally, full scale construction in Seattle.
Maya Lin’s acclaimed work encompasses large-scale environmental installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural projects and memorials. Her artwork interprets the world through a twenty-first century lens, utilizing technological methods to study and visualize the natural environment. In her sculpture and drawing, Lin merges rational order with notions of beauty. Blurring boundaries between two- and three-dimensional space, Lin sets up a systematic ordering of the landscape tied to history, time, science and language. The 2014 recipient of the Gish Prize for her contributions to art and social change, Lin has been the subject of solo museum exhibitions and created outdoor installations for public and private collections from New York to New Zealand. She is raising awareness about habitat loss and biodiversity.