Anne Nordhaus-Bike

How To Build A Mountain
color printed and cut bond copy paper, glue, blue cotton thread, crocheted ivory cotton thread, and ivory unryu (cloud dragon’s breath) paper
25 x 14 in.

My latest work presents a paradox that undercuts our assumptions about material actuality. Through this series I explore mountains: remembered or imagined…ethereal, metaphorical, mystical. These seemingly permanent fixtures of Earth’s topography nevertheless change constantly and are impermanent like the rest of creation. Through the most delicate, even fragile and fugitive, materials—watercolor, whispery transparent unryu (“cloud dragon’s breath”) paper, thread—these works indicate that what seems so solid, heavy, and “earthy” is fleeting when considered in the larger scheme of creation since time as we understand it began with the universe’s birth. Cutting pieces out of the paper or joining torn segments with thread brings air into these works, hinting at erosion caused by wind. They also imply the further paradox that mountains, while ranking as the biggest and heaviest things on our planet, nevertheless exist both deep in the Earth and high in the air because they soar to the clouds. On a fundamental level, mountains give us mixed messages about permanence/impermanence, earth/air, material actuality/spiritual reality. These works invite viewers to feel this paradox and enjoy their personal interplay of “earth” and “air,” permanence and impermanence.