April to Dec.
Studio, Office and Gallery
1991 Hillside Drive, Columbus, OH 43221. U.S.A.
Jan. thru March.
17 Patricia Place, Hahei, New Zealand.
Most of my oeuvre is devoted to the numberless inflatable vinyl topological transformations of disc or torus that occupied me fully from 1975 to 1984 then off-and-on up to the present. As art styles have waxed and waned these forms have been interpreted variously as minimalist, procedural, systemic, structuralist, biomorphic or geometric. I accept any of these limiting descriptions even though for me the work is expressive, intuitive, empirical, experimental, and instructive. The work led me to learn about symmetry, and about the formal potency of the spiral which I found to be key to the formal fecundity of all transformations. I came to see and use many versions of the spiral as a vehicle of instruction and as a metaphor for the life-force.
As the experiments accumulated it was possible to re-assemble, analyze and structure one complete collection of closed transformations, "Anolatabulata", into a totality with comprehensive internal sets and subsets. This, leading me towards an understanding of structure, became a sculptural model for the way in which all life forms develop and change. The completion of the 59 member "Anolatabulata" set was assisted by mathematician, Phil Huneke, who introduced the idea of a Zeeman’s Dunce Cap. Starting as paired triangular three dimensional surfaces upon which all 59 forms can be interrelated, the two sides are folded, mirror-matched, then inflated to becomes the plan for a comprehensive three dimensional array, see "Zeemans Dunce Cap" 1979 at www. BettyCollings.com.
The initial "Anolatabulata" forms were developed by topological manipulations of a yin-yang subdivision of paired discs drawn on flexible vinyl. Within the resultant wide variety of biomorphic shapes many were particularly intriguing in that they recalled human and animal forms. Later distortions of the basic yin-yang refined the process to produce the quite delicate and "lifelike" shapes of the series entitled "Life Sculpture" and "God’s Games". (See "Life Sculpture" above). At the present time, May 2000, a selection of these shapes is being brought to completion as larger-than-life sized bronzes by Tallix.
Concomitant with the several "closed" sets of forms that followed "Anolatabulata" I became very excited about the way in which the pairing and displacing of repeated tori create continuous spiraling transformational structures within which shapes first appear as spiraling forms then segue¢ into formless surfaces. Rotationally symmetric "Open" 1977, the first and the simplest of a series of large pieces entitled "Universe", was the seed that let me imagine how the Universe might continuously transform. An elaboration can be seen in the mirror-matched and displaced asymmetric tori of "Gold Plume" 1983. In "St Sophia" 1983, the colored bands of paired Archimedes spirals projected into a reversing helix code the geometry. For details see www.BettyCollings.com.
Although geometry became the medium of investigation in this work, the underlying expressive character was re-emphasized about five years when I realized that the pieces chosen for reforming into hard forms represented a matriarchal lineage that began with my great-great grandmother and rested with my daughter, Jane.
Born in Wanganui, N.Z., in l934, spent nine years on an isolated Kakatahi sheep farm, attended a one-room country school. Moved to Paekakariki in l945 to attend High School, Teachers’ College and University in Wellington. Married in l953 to Dr Edward Collings the family emigrated to the U.S. in l962 to live in Swarthmore, PA. In l963 an earlier casual interest in ceramics was revived and developed via at-home practice and experimentation so that in l965 Collings co-founded "Hogan" a co-operative gallery for craft. Moving to Ohio in l967 she mixed homemaking and study graduating MFA in l974. Immediately appointed Director of what became The Ohio State University Gallery of Fine Art her subsequent efforts emphasized cutting-edge contemporary art and the establishment of the "Contemporary Collection". In l981 she began a decade of free- lance work including writing for Arts Magazine and Dialogue, curating exhibitions and writing catalogues. Traveling as the founding Director of The Artists’ Organization (TAO) she visited and lectured in New Zealand and the Peoples’ Republic of China. Subsequently, as Program Director of TAO, she was largely responsible for TAO’s International Exchange Program that included exchanges of art and artists from The Peoples’ Republic of China and Ukraine and the sponsorship of a permanent installation in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio, by Tokyo artist, Akio Hizume. She became a U.S. citizen in 1999. Presently her time is divided between studios in Ohio and New Zealand. In Ohio she works with painted, inflated vinyl and with plaster as well as the necessary preparation for bronze casting. In New Zealand she works with clay.
- 7 Awards for Sculpture.
- Columbus Art League’s Distinguished Service Award, 1980.
- Ohio Arts Council Fellowships for Sculpture (81-82) and Criticism (83-84)
- Recognized by Ohio Department of Natural Resources for managing and curating Akio Hizume’s "Democracy Steps for Cedar Falls-1977".
- The Artists’ Organization
- International Association of Art Critics - American Section.
- International Society for Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry - ISIS
- Who’s Who in American Art 1989-
- The New York Art Review, 1990
- American Women Sculptors, Oryx
- An Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century North American Women Artists, Garland, 92-93
- Who’s Who in the Mid-West
- World Who’s Who of Women
EXHIBITIONS, REVIEWS AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
An extensive list of national and international solo and group exhibitions as well as writing about Collings and writing by Collings can be found at www.BettyCollings.com