Twelfth Unconformity by Lydia Musco

The Avenue Concept Providence Downtown Public Art Tour 2024

Twelfth Unconformity by Lydia Musco

Providence, Rhode Island 02906, United States

Created By: The Avenue Concept


Insider's Tip: We love Trinity Brewhouse. (Also, shout out to Providence Painted Signs who did the Trinity Rep Mural!).

Location: Empire St. x Fountain St.

Installed: June 2023

Lydia Musco is an artist from New England whose work has been exhibited in galleries and outdoor spaces across the United States.

This piece is the twelfth in the "Unconformity" series which Musco began making in 2020, which draws inspiration from the landscape of the woods of Massachusetts where she lives and works. The color and patterns of this sculpture are influenced by daily observations of the month of February. The shapes of each piece within the "Unconformity" series are the same and cast from the same mold, but within that form everything changes from piece to piece. “Twelfth Unconformity” depicts shadows of bare trees, the colors of winter brush, and captures the way that the sky can blend with the ground, making them sometimes indistinguishable.

Musco offers this description of the work:

I started making drawings and notes of the incremental environmental changes that accumulate into weeks and months and years and using these as studies for new sculptures…This sculpture was built from the ground up, in one continuous action, by filling a wood form with wet, pigmented concrete. This building process mirrors my experience of moving through time, as memories and events accumulated to form a story, and it relates to my interpretation of the landscape, with its slow building up of growth and geologic material. This sculpture is cast in layers that fit together like a vertically stacked puzzle. Each time this piece is re-assembled in a new environment it echoes the actions of the original making process and, hopefully, offers new insights and observations.

Musco learned to observe the world from her poet mother and from her grandfathers who performed magic tricks and asked expert questions. She learned to work with her hands from her woodworker father and grandmothers who cooked Sicilian delicacies and played piano duets. From them Musco also learned the power of working deeply into whatever boundaries are encountered and the immense, unexpected creative territory that is revealed when choices are limited. She credits her most valuable tools as the rules and constraints encountered while creating.

This current body of work began with the development of rules that governed scale, form, color, content, and logistics. For example, the logistics rule - the artist must be able to handle and move an entire piece herself if necessary - which led to a building process that itself led to deeper explorations within the restrictions guiding color and content. Stacking many individual pieces into a larger form was a logistical solution and simultaneously brought in a way to represent the layers of stories and memories that make up Musco's experience of moving through life. When she interacts with the repetitive stacking of these current pieces, she is reconstructing not only the way in which they were built but also the moments that are encoded in the actions that created each layer. The sedimentary layers found in geology and the way that large and small moments can be recorded but can also be changed over time. The object represents both the past - when it was built - and the present moment of being rebuilt.

"With the action of building up the form again I’m reminded to consider how things have changed, both from my own perspective and in the bigger picture. Making helps me understand the world. Making helps me learn how things go together, how things come apart, how they stand, how they fall, how they interact, and helps me to see the world. There is so much to learn; I treasure every scrap of understanding I can get," Musco says.

Material: Integrally pigmented concrete

Artist IG: @lydia_j_musco

~Take a Closer Look~

Twelfth Unconformity is assembled by the artist layer by layer on-site. What do you think makes that process challenging or easy?

What forms or colors do you notice? Are there particular elements that make you think about winter?

How do light and shadows affect your experience of the work?

What do you think of the scale of the work and the significance of its size and placement?

This point of interest is part of the tour: The Avenue Concept Providence Downtown Public Art Tour 2024


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