Maya Lin: Flow

May 18, 2019 — Sep 8, 2019

Organized by GRAM in collaboration with Lin’s studio, the exhibition features sculpture that demonstrates Lin’s fascination with the natural environment, specifically water, as subject. Created in recycled silver, steel pins, and common building materials, Lin conceives these sculptures with the use of charting, mapping, and scientific research to determine each work’s ultimate design, layout, and structure.

Lin has created two new sculptures for the exhibition that focus directly on West Michigan. Pin River – Grand River Watershed (2019) is an installation made of steel pins imbedded directly into the wall that forms a sparkling fifteen-foot-long outline of the Grand River Watershed. At 260 miles in length, the Grand River is Michigan’s longest waterway and has been critical to the history and economy of Grand Rapids. The Traces Left Behind (From the Great Bear Lake to the Great Lakes) (2019) is a shimmering wall relief cast from recycled silver. In creating the work, Lin charted the span of contemporary bodies of water from the Arctic to the Great Lakes that were formed by the melting of the Laurentide Ice Shelf, which once covered much of the North American continent. Through scope, scale, and the seeming use of abstraction, Lin expands our awareness of the Great Lakes and their connection to other bodies of water and to the geological forces that created them.

With Flow, Lin a committed environmentalist, focuses attention on the crucial role of water, both to our region, and to global survival. The exhibition also creates connection and dialogue with Ecliptic, the public park in Rosa Parks Circle created by Lin that marks its 20th anniversary next year. Water – specifically the nearby Grand River – also directly inspired Ecliptic. Within the park, Lin featured water in three different forms —liquid, solid, and vapor — through the park’s ice rink and amphitheater, mist fountain, and table of flowing water. I’ve always been fixated on water,” says Lin. Maybe it’s because it exists in multiple states, and you can never understand it in nature as a fixed moment in time.”