Barbara Josephs Liotta

I make sculpture of suspended shattered stone. Each work relies on a precarious balance between the hanging rocks and the cords that hold them. The formal parallels of the lift cord reign in the potent energy of the stones. The verticals ‘breathe’ but remain plumb. The shattered stone, a variety of marbles and granites, has an innate violence, a latent power that is barely held in check by the encircling cord. In some pieces there is also a cascade of loose cord pooling on the ground below the stones adding a graceful chaotic element. In other pieces the stones themselves cascade downward. All of the work floats between the lyrical and the formal, the powerful and the melodious, the violent and the beautiful.

My work resembles chamber music in its reductive aim. I select the essential elements and then weave and intertwine them, maintaining each distinct voice, in order to create a balanced whole. I believe strongly in the discerning eye; in stripping away the superfluous. I strive for a sort of essence; a clarity that will allow the work grace but not prettiness, rhythm but not contrivance, balance but not stiffness. The work seeks to animate, rather than inhabit, its space.

I love the moment in a dancer’s leap when, after performing the desired actions, he (or she) pauses in the air for just a moment and, through force of pure will, stretches exquisitely, before coming back down. It is that insistence on the delicious moment that transcends mere craft and turns the leap into a thing of spellbinding willed beauty. I am constantly searching for that moment. I use my raw materials, as if they were dancers’ bodies, to draw in space.