Lee Boroson:  Lunar Bower

May 26, 2011 – May 27, 2012

 Conceived specifically for The Phillips Collection, Lee Boroson’s Lunar Bower engages the ceiling of the museum’s Vrandenburg Café. Panels of silky and woolen fabric in subdued colors are sewn together and stretched across the space, suggesting an ethereal, moon-filled sky similar to many of Albert Pinkham Ryder’s paintings from The Phillips Collection. Inspired by Ryder’s moody and poetic, intense and expressive work, Lee Boroson has imbued the Phillips’s café with a moonlit radiance that directly relates to the lustrous effect of Ryder’s paintings from the 1880–90s, such as Moonlit Cove, Fisherman Hut, and Macbeth and the Witches. In Lunar Bower, the colored light (using pre-existing lighting fixtures) is given a corporeal presence as it filters through the hanging sculpture and connects with natural light from the nearby windows. This “night sky” incorporates the central light fixture, which glows like the moon. As the title Lunar Bower suggests, the piece envelops the space and the viewer in an atmosphere of nocturnal serenity and a sense of mystery.

Boroson is best known for his monumental scale, inflated sculptures produced in various synthetic materials. These buoyant and often colorful environments have evolved from the artist’s interest in nature and its representation/ depiction in art, namely clouds, stars, or gardens; architectural structures, such as rooms or passageways; and anatomical studies, including cross-sections of human skin. Designed for their specific sites, these whimsical works explore both the sheer physicality of the contained space as well as the perception and experience of it.