Eva LeWitt, installation view of “Eva LeWitt,” 2022. Photo: Farzad Owrang, © Eva LeWitt, Courtesy the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and VI, VII, Oslo

Eva LeWitt

New York

Luhring Augustine

At first glance, Eva LeWitt’s recent exhibition of 21 works from her “Hanging Spheres” series appeared disarmingly simple—a circular arrangement of sculptures that resembled a group of suspended test tubes. Closer inspection, however, revealed that each work was formed from intricate clusters of slender red, black, white, and blue silicone rods. Held in place by a metal plate, each assembly of rods descended to a different height. Bronze, silver, and black metal beads placed at regular intervals on the ends of the rods altered each work, creating the illusion of large and small hovering spherical orbs.

Though LeWitt’s use of commercial materials and repetitive shapes would seem to emphasize the minimal and quotidian, the cumulative effect resulted in a constantly changing field of immersive wonder. As one moved through the gallery, each dangling constellation dissembled, splintering from its tangible physicality to act in random and unpredictable ways with the ambient lighting. Shimmering and seemingly fragmented into beams of light, the sculptures shape-shifted, materializing and dematerializing as they moved between solid, hard-edged rectangular shafts and nearly transparent shapes that dissolved just as soon as they were beheld. At the same time, as light interacted with the colored rods, they, too, refused the limitations of fixed shape and singular experience, offering instead a range of intensities, iridescences, and tones as one moved around them. The metal beads likewise intermingled with light and the movement to materialize as globes floating in space.

In this exploratory experience, LeWitt aspired to replace the tangible with the ethereal, using everyday materials as a pathway toward more evocative states of spiritual meditation or almost musical harmony. Wandering among these shafts of colored light and hovering orbs formed from materials more often associated with plastic commodities or decorative screens, one began to re-evaluate the goals of modern design, noticing not its propensity for the slick, but its radical aspiration to uplift and transform. Impossible to capture via photographs, the component parts and details of LeWitt’s works accented the ever-changing rhythms, patterns, juxtapositions, and cadences that underlie a seeming static arrangement of forms. Instead of standing still while looking, viewers were prompted to sway and dance, to move between and among the these beams and spheres whose shifting forms could not be captured and held onto, only felt and seen. With such lightness of being, LeWitt achieved the sublime.