Using tools of mapping and materials of industry Norwood Viviano makes installations and sculptures that consider various social and environmental factors leading to population changes in American cities. His most recent series, Re-Cast Cities, continues his exploration of the cross-sections of geography, cartography and history, merging urban landscapes with the symbols of industry that have fueled their booms, busts and builds.
Heller Gallery’s March 2021 Re-Cast Cities exhibition documented the first eight pieces made in this series focusing on Detroit, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, (OR), Toledo and White Mills, (PA). Curator and writer Sarah Darro called the project “a radical reconsideration of cartography that inflects Viviano’s ongoing analysis of the rise and fall of American manufacturing with an experimental energy geared towards the future.”
Viviano received a BFA from Alfred University and an MFA in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is represented in the collections of major museums in the US, Europe and Asia. His work has been shown at the Venice Architectural Biennale (2014), Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX (2013); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2015), Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (2016), Bellevue Art Museum (2016), Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2016), MOCA Jacksonville (2017), Boise Art Museum (2018) as well as at Stanze de Vetro in Venice, Italy (2020). Recent solo exhibitions include Grand Rapids Art Museum in Grand Rapids, MI (2015); Heller Gallery, New York, NY (2011, 2014, 2018 and 2021); Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk VA (2016) and Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG), Corning, NY (2017-18). Viviano is an associate professor and sculpture program coordinator at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
Awards and residencies include the 2019 Corning Museum of Glass, David Whitehouse Research Residency for Artists; visiting artist residencies in 2017 and 2010 at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA; inclusion in CMOG’s New Glass Review #16, #22, #33, #36, and #38; a 2016 fellowship at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center – Creative Glass Center of America, Millville, NJ; the 2014 Pilchuck Glass School John H. Hauberg Fellowship; the Venice Biennale, Best Exhibition Award, from Global Art Affairs Foundation; and the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence, GVSU, Catalyst Grant for Research and Creativity.
The result of Viviano’s 2017 Visiting Artist Residency at the Museum of Glass, Cities Underwater focused attention from population and cartographic shifts of the past to the future. The artist conceived the project to visualize the dramatic loss of land predicted to occur in the next 500 years in areas that some 127 million Americans call home. The adaptation needed to mitigate the impending changes that will affect our lives, history and culture is massive. The Cities Underwater work is aimed at keeping this conversation alive and not forgoing it for short-term convenience or gain.
The installation was comprised of 16 sets of nesting glass cylinders, which represent 16 coastal cities in the United States. Using existing LiDAR data and scientific projections, Viviano showed the projected loss of land mass due to sea level rise in Boston, Galveston, Miami Beach, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, Newark, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco, Savannah, Seattle, St. Petersburg and Tacoma. Each set was accompanied by vinyl cut drawings and animation, which provided additional data.
For Mining Industries, Viviano utilized digital 3D computer modeling and printing technology in tandem with glass blowing and casting processes to create work depicting population shifts tied to the dynamic between industry and community. By showing how landscapes and populations move and are modified as a result of industry, his work creates a 3D lens to view that which is invisible or forgotten. His use of blown glass forms and vinyl cut drawings are micro-models of macro changes at the regional, national, and international level.
Viviano says: “I find myself looking at the world as a surveyor – telling stories through objects. Stepping back and researching how pieces fit together gives me the opportunity to consider the impact of the component parts. Conversations with specialists in a range of disciplines — historians, urban planners, demographers, climate scientists and statisticians — deepen my engagement with the subject matter and the complexity of my work. My artistic intention is to better understand our place in time by focusing on land use through pictorial imagery and on industrial growth and decline through population studies that also ask questions about the present and future of communities. My installations and objects encourage individuals to make connections and ask questions about the interconnectivity between their and other communities.
He continues: “My material choice of glass is meant to demonstrate the fragility of populations. I hope my work asks people to examine their own histories of migration, from personal and communal standpoints, just as it continues to help me navigate and explore my own.”
Viviano will teach a one-week 3D printing and mold making workshop at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO, July 19-23, 2021. For more information