Sharon Loper Santa Cruz Museum of Art

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Sharon Loper
By Roberta Carasso, Ph.D
Elected member of the AICA � International Art Criticts Association/USA

Los Angeles artist Sharon Loper considers the many existential possibilities of a nest. Her enthusiasm for the Nest series began in 2003 with hummingbirds outside her window. Loper states, "The nest represents nature in its most perfect symbolism, in that the nest is shelter, an enclosure, a safe place where life is sustained. We all live in a time when hyper-reality is the norm. The nest brings us back to less complicated values and uses nature as a vehicle. The nest is a window, a place where life begins."

Loper's installation is a statement about "the connection between animals, humans, and the environment." To show this relationship, Loper fabricates large scale hemispherical hollow forms, forty times that of a hummingbird's nest, made from steel, wire, sisal fiber, raw cotton and other natural materials. Their exaggerated size propells us beyond the natural nest made from found objects to the metaphorical, revealing the tendency of all living beings, including humans, to construct nests and find solace in the nest they personally define.

Loper encases in plexiglas large scale pixelated photographs of the original hummingbirds. Two nest images, 36 x 36 inches, hang gracefully suspended from the ceiling; while in "Passages," a 72 x 72 inch photo presentation of the chicks in the nest are placed slightly above the floor. Thus, through each sculptural nest and thoughtfully placed photograph, Loper shows that a nest is a vital part of the cyclical life of wild creatures; and for human beings, a nest is ever present; it is the life we shape.

In nature, a nest fills a temporary need, from incubation to independence. In human life, people create nests too, not only for the safety of progeny, but largely for personal protection, warmth, closeness and security. Tangible and intangible womb-like sanctuaries are constructed, in shapes determined by the limits of space in which the individual chooses to be engulfed. A nest could be in the home, a special chair, or it could be the home itself. It is in the workplace, the office, the cubical, any area where we define who we are and set invisible limits.

© Sharon Loper 2024