I am interested in how we situate ourselves within a mechanized society. My work questions the physical and psychological structures that make up our everyday, ranging from essential building structures such as electrical wiring, to the basic conduct of how people communicate and behave. Since the human drive is not only to make things work but to constantly better the functionality of an object or system, as well as our selves, it conjures the question of sustainability. If we are always searching, looking for something better, when are we satisfied? And most importantly what are we looking for? My work turns this question of sustainability inward, addressing the viewer, rather than examining outside sources.

These questions are investigated using color, light, and textiles to create a sensory experience taking shape in objects and room-sized installations. Light is used to direct the viewer or make visible an electrical structure, either specific to the space or diagrammatic. Electroluminescent wire, which produces a continuous line of light, is applied in site-specific line drawings that perceptively dominate and change the space. The environments immerse the viewer in a phenomenological experience. I also create hand-constructed textile objects, titled PLAYMATES, which invite interaction with the audience.

One site-specific installation titled ‘See you at the top’ (exhibited in Switzerland) consists of an upside-down “mountain” constructed out of vinyl cloth that is suspended from the ceiling around the central light fixture of the room. The “mountain’s” glowing presence dominates the space – its radiating light enhances the vinyl fabric folds, enforcing the structural jaggedness of the mountainous construction, while exposing the utilitarian green daisy flower printed tablecloth by seeing the manufacturer’s design from the back shine through. The viewer negotiates the space with little maneuvering room, at once being drawn to the light while unsure of the soundness of the construction.

This installation, inspired by the Swiss countryside and lifestyle, addresses current issues that I’m exploring in my work. The Mountain, a Swiss icon used to communicate a national identity, is also a key symbol in motivational and self-help literature, where a mountain becomes a symbol for hard work and endurance needed to reach your goals. Through turning the mountain upside-down, ‘See you at the top’ is an invitation to question the endurance of the tough climb to the unknown – perhaps we are already there.

Aiming to entice the viewer through a point of recognition and familiarity in the constructed objects and environments in a perceptual and sensory way, the work then has the possibility to create associations for the viewer, which leads to a heightened sense of awareness of how these elements manifest themselves in their life and what kind of role they play.

About Ariane Roesch

Ariane Roesch, born 1984 in Germany, moved to Houston, TX, in 1996. She received a BFA from the University of Houston in 2007 and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2011. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at PS Project Space in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Horselaw Press in Zuerich, Switzerland, Michael Rosenthal Gallery in San Francisco, CA, and at Redbud Gallery in Houston, TX.

She was part of the research team for the Pacific Standard Time Exhibition, The Experimental Impulse, at RedCat (Los Angeles, CA) focusing on the cross over between LA Punk and Country Music in the late 1970s/early 80s.