Pattie Porter Firestone, House Askew, 2011. Painted steel, 12 x 6 x 6 ft.

Pattie Porter Firestone

Washington, DC

Katzen Art Center, American University

Filling the Katzen Art Center’s “sculpture garden” is no easy task for an artist determined to present a coherent display of work. Intended as a light well to enhance the building, two L-shaped concrete rectangles offer no visual integration unless one stands at their juncture. Pattie Porter Firestone chose to present both wall-hung and freestanding pieces, so her first task was to wed her work with the space in an aesthetically reasonable manner. Turning to a non-visual medium, she invited a musician to collaborate with her in filling the space with sound. It worked brilliantly. Barbara Buchanan’s computer-generated composition pulsated in a wave-like cadence that aurally mimicked the visual elements. Two dozen, wave-like twists of blue steel mounted on the walls pulled viewers into the space. While affixed solidly, the forms implied piercing and penetration, a movement in and out of their containment, suggesting waves and water. Two of these blue twists, visible from the outside of the museum, supplied a seductive invitation to come in and see more…see the entire review in the print version of June’s Sculpture magazine.