Maya Lin: Bay, Pond, & Harbor (Long Island Triptych)
On Long Island, you’re surrounded by water on both sides; you’ve got the bay coming up separating the North and the South Forks. I am extremely interested in the water’s edge, and thinking about sea level and understanding how transmutable and temporal that boundary between land and sea actually is. I’m very committed to doing something to help us understand and move quicker. I think this is going to be a huge part of our conversation in our lifetime. This is not something for the next two generations. It’s happening now.
Of primary concern to artist Maya Lin (American, born 1959) is the exploration of how we experience and influence the landscape. Lin is one of the foremost artists of our time and her creative process balances at the intersection of art, architecture, and science. A passionate advocate for the environment, her most recent work brings to light the effects of climate change and the interconnectedness of all regions of the planet. By revealing aspects of the natural world that are normally invisible to us—the topography of the globe from ocean floor to mountain top, the evolving shape of coastlines and waterways—the artist highlights the need to consider how human activities impact the planet as a whole.
Lin invests years in her research, gathering data about the Earth via scientific mapping tools like sonar resonance scans and aerial and satellite imaging devices. She translates these technological views into expressive, human-scale sculptures, installations, and wall reliefs. Her complex investigation is expressed with a simplicity of means and materials: Bay, Pond, & Harbor (Long Island Triptych) (2014) is composed entirely of recycled silver.
Bay, Pond, & Harbor depicts three landmark bodies of water on the East End of Long Island: Mecox Bay, Georgica Pond, and Accabonac Harbor. By using recycled cast silver, Lin captures the reflective, precious, and jewel-like quality of water. Through works of extraordinary beauty, the artist asks us to envision waterways as the irreplaceable circulatory system of the planet and consider how our actions can destabilize this fragile balance.