Ava Blitz: Cooking Up a Storm

Common metallic objects, found in the kitchen, spin in the wind around a twelve foot pole. This was the concept behind "Cooking Up A Storm," which is very different from my usual work in weighty cement and stone. I have mixed feelings about using art for fundraising but, looking for a change of pace, I participated in Kites: Art Takes Flight, the Main Line Art Center's commemoration of Benjamin Franklin's centennial. I didn't want to make a traditional kite, but to experiment with found objects, work in lightweight metal, and explore movement--in this case using the wind.

The idea of using aluminum pots and pans came to me: they are lightweight, beautifully designed forms, appropriately shaped to catch the wind for a whirligig type of movement. George Schaefer supplied the title, "Cooking Up a Storm," which made the perfect connection to the Ben Franklin theme that I chafed against, as well as a perfectly ironic commentary on my own relation to the project, since I don't cook!

A hunt through thrift stores, basements, flea markets, and estates, provided pots and pans, colanders, knives, forks, and spoons, percolators, graters, egg beaters, mashers, and any number of fascinating lightweight aluminum cookware. A bicycle wheel provided the bearings and the hub. The piece spins quite rapidly in heavy winds, gently in a breeze, and is still when calm. "Cooking Up A Storm" changes constantly according to weather and light. It has a different presence when sunny or cloudy. Sunlight reflects off of shiny metallic surfaces. Perforations seen against the sky create patterns. LED lights create an inner glow at night, peeping out of cavities and through perforations, creating yet another presence in the evening. It is never static, and it encourages interactive play by passersby. "Cooking Up A Storm" can be spun by hand, the masher twirled, and the egg beater beaten.

While completely different in material and form from my other work, "Cooking Up a Story" still resonates with my recent explorations in public art: I enjoy placing sculpture where it is unexpected, inappropriate, slightly subversive, and fun. I enjoy creating something large out of smaller, intimately sized units. I enjoy creating new unfamiliar relationships between familiar forms, and take pleasure in the temporary nature of this installation.

Serendip is a web site devoted to a sort of science education that is playful, exploratory, self-directed, and generative of the new. Among its offerings has been extensive web support for the discovery of unexpected intersections between science and society, science in culture, and science and art. The artistic creations of Ava Blitz are particularly striking representations of the latter.

| Ava Blitz: Re-making the Landscape
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