Wall of Air

Works by Ana M. Lopez

TranSystems Gallery

On view July 23 - September 4, 2021

Artist Statement

Wall of Air  presents a series of small sculptures by Ana M. Lopez that address our increasingly complex relationship with air conditioning. Conflating references from the decorative and industrial arts, these objects invite the viewer to consider wealth, display, power and privilege as they relate to this modern amenity.

This body of work borrows forms from the ubiquitous, invisible evidence of artificial air handling that populates many rooftops and exterior walls. These metal forms are typically mass-produced by industrial processes but have been recreated by Lopez through small-scale craft practices. The enamel finishes are inspired by historic ceramic vessels from all over the world. Many of the finished works are presented in the format of garnitures. These sets of decorative accessories were typically comprised of imported porcelain or artful bronze work and were popular from the seventeenth century onward. Typically displayed on mantlepieces, they reflected the owner’s taste and wealth. Lopez’s laboriously crafted arrangements of common rooftop objects of air passage invite one to reflect upon the West’s atmospheric colonization of the global climate.

The title piece, Wall of Air, is an installation of four wall-mounted porcelain-enameled steel boxes embellished with silver. The forms are based on the external appearance of through-window air conditioning units. Walls make air conditioning feasible but they also exclude. As climate change brings increasingly severe weather, control of one’s domestic comfort is likely to become a luxury commodity of increased class disparity.

Artist Bio

Ana M. Lopez is a metalsmith, educator, and decorative arts scholar. Her creative work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Recently, Lopez has had solo exhibitions at the Appalachian Center for Craft, and in 2018 at the Brookline Art Center in Boston, Massachusetts and at the Delaplaine Art Center in Frederick, Maryland. She was selected for a 2019 Maker-Creator Fellowship at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Winterthur, Delaware. She has lectured extensively on her own work as a presenter at the2017 Society of North American Goldsmiths conference, the 2019 College Art Association Conference and 2019 Texas Metals Symposium. Ana is the author of the reference book Metalworking Through History: An Encyclopedia, published by Greenwood Press, as well as numerous other scholarly articles. She holds an MFA in Metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and an MA in the History of American Decorative Arts from The Smithsonian Associates and Parsons School of Design. She is currently Associate Professor of Metalsmithing & Jewelry at the University of North Texas and lives with her family in Fort Worth, Texas.