Inclusive Monuments

Native Tongue XR at Storm King

Gatfield, Storm Queen (Ursula von Rydingsvard, Luba and Gill Gatfield, Native Tongue XR - Storm King NY) 

In fading light at Storm King in upstate New York, one of the largest collections of outdoor sculpture in the world, a virtual ‘Native Tongue’ stands beside Ursula von Rydingsvard’s ‘Luba’. Two bookends mapping human progress and geological time – ‘Luba’s’ rough sawn cedar and cast bronze figure facing the silk-grained alter ego of an ancient kauri sculpture, in extended reality, an Other I. In the wooded parkland, they made bookends also in abstraction – one fluid yet solid and dripping down, the other formal yet ephemeral, rising up from the ground.

An-other purpose arose from this 2019 staging. On the Storm King map, of 82 artists in the permanent collection including long-term loans, only fifteen artists were women – 18 percent. The transient companion witnessed another type of presence and absence, became a number to be counted, and in the making, momentarily nudged the proportion of womxn artists closer to 20 percent.

'Inclusive Monuments' NZ arts journal Femisphere Vol 4 2021