Up Close and from a Distance (2014)
for flute, Bb clarinet, violin, viola, & cello
This piece takes its inspiration from the Ghanaian-born, Nigerian-based artist El Anatsui’s installation, Hovor II (2004). The work is an enormous glistening wall-sized tapestry created by stringing together old liquor tops. As I sat in the de Young Museum admiring it, I noticed that others (as did I) would come close to examine the incredible detail, and then back away to look at it from afar. Hence the title – in my response to the work, I have tried to capture my own viewing experience. Up close, I am engrossed in the numerous liquor tops strewn together by twisted wire, some gnarled and bent, some golden, some striped. Though I admire the details, I think the piece is most powerful from afar, where its sheer scale and presence is truly felt, and I am mesmerized by its brilliant glow.
Up Close and from a Distance was commissioned by Left Coast Chamber Ensemble in collaboration with the de Young Museum with support from the San Francisco Arts Cultural Equity Grants Program. It has been a joy and a privilege working with the musicians of the ensemble. (RS)