Elizabeth Keithline

'Invisible forces at work'

From Elizabeth Keithline’s site-specific installation, “(The Air) As It Moves,’’ at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth Art Gallery, in New Bedford, through Sept. 12. The gallery explains that Ms. Keithline uses “hanging wire objects to create a play of light and shadows as it moves in the air. These abstract shapes have a ‘memory’ of suspended skeletal, swaying wire beams and rafters that invite viewers to contemplate the invisible forces at work in our lives. We see these forces only because of their ancillary activity, never directly. Viewers are invited to move through the gallery and, by doing so, gently activate the installation.’’    The installation is one of four projects in the gallery connected to the theme of wind and inspired by the inaugural Design Art Technology Massachusetts (DATMA) festival, titled ‘‘Summer Winds 2019’’.

From Elizabeth Keithline’s site-specific installation, “(The Air) As It Moves,’’ at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth Art Gallery, in New Bedford, through Sept. 12. The gallery explains that Ms. Keithline uses “hanging wire objects to create a play of light and shadows as it moves in the air. These abstract shapes have a ‘memory’ of suspended skeletal, swaying wire beams and rafters that invite viewers to contemplate the invisible forces at work in our lives. We see these forces only because of their ancillary activity, never directly. Viewers are invited to move through the gallery and, by doing so, gently activate the installation.’’

The installation is one of four projects in the gallery connected to the theme of wind and inspired by the inaugural Design Art Technology Massachusetts (DATMA) festival, titled ‘‘Summer Winds 2019’’.


May 24 - September 12, 2019


Location: University Art Gallery, Star Store Campus, 715 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA


Reception: Thursday, AHA! Night, June 13, 6-8.30 pm

7 pm: Artist Talk

7.30 pm: Summer Winds concert with musicians Laura Pardee Schaefer (oboe) and Daniel Beilman (bassoon) from New Bedford Symphony Orchestra


Interactive Shadow Drawing: July 11 & August 8, 6-8 pm


Closing Reception: Thursday, AHA! Night, September 12, 6-8 pm


Contact : Viera Levitt, Gallery Director and Exhibition Curator, gallery@umassd.edu


Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM daily, closed on major holidays. Open until 9 pm during AHA! Nights (the second Thursday of every month)


The UMass Dartmouth University Art Gallery presents four projects connected to the theme of wind throughout the Star Store Campus in Downtown New Bedford. Inspired by the inaugural Design Art Technology Massachusetts (DATMA) festival, titled Summer Winds 2019, visitors can experience various installations and video projects from different artists: Rhode Island's Elizabeth Keithline presents a site specific installation (The Air) As it Moves at the University Art Gallery; Spencer Finch, a well-known New York City artist exhibits Wind (Through Emily Dickinson's Window) in Gallery 244; videos by Renee Piechocki and Brandon Forrest Frederick play at the Bubbler Gallery. Lastly, a project Whispers by Canadian based Light Society will be projected on the Lecture Hall wall only during AHA! Nights, and is not to miss.


(The Air) As It Moves is a site-specific installation by Elizabeth Keithline that uses hanging wire objects to create a play of light and shadows as it moves in the air. These abstract shapes have a “memory” of suspended skeletal, swaying wire beams and rafters that invite viewers to contemplate the invisible forces at work in our lives. We see these forces only because of their ancillary activity, never directly. Viewers are invited to move through the gallery and, by doing so, gently activate the installation.

Throughout the sumer, the walls will become populated by additional shadow drawings, which will make it hard to distinguish the real shadows from their drawings, creating a disorienting and off balance feeling. On July 11 & August 8, there will be a family-friendly interactive shadow drawing from 6 to 8 pm.


Artist Elizabeth Keithline’s work focuses on human self-extension and its effects on contemporary society. Born in Connecticut in 1961, Keithline has been a weaver since she was 14 years old. In 1996, after moving to Rhode Island, she invented a sculpture technique wherein wire is woven around an object and then burned out, leaving behind a wire “memory”. As the installations grew, she began to cut away and re-mend parts of the wire, rather than burning it out. The “spines” that the repairs incorporated became part of the work's content area. She has installed public art projects in Boston, Paxton, and Oxford, MA. A current project, "The Shadow Tree" is installed in the Art & Nature Center at the Peabody Essex Museum through March 2021.

Keithline’s work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Hartford Courant and others. She is also the consulting director for the Rhode Island State Council On the Arts Percent For Art Program and the State’s Cultural Facilities Grant and serves on the advisory committee of Public Art Review.