Eva LeWitt's plantlike structures turn New York's Jewish Museum into a synthetic terrarium

All images are courtesy of The Jewish Museum. Images by Jason Mandella

New York sculptor Eva LeWitt’s primarily abstract work often manifests as site-specific installations. She addresses the sculptural concerns of weight and volume and plays with the tension between industrial and hand fabrication.

Using soft and pliable, semitransparent and semi-absorptive materials – including acetate, latex, and sponge – Eva subtly renders variations in tone. Alongside these formal investigations, she explores the expressive properties of light, both in the works themselves and in the spaces they inhabit.

Untitled (Flora) at New York's The Jewish Museum continues these lines of inquiry and pushes the representational possibilities for abstraction. Creating plantlike structures, the artist responds to the new flower arrangements that are installed on the windowsills of the lobby each week, acknowledging the room’s main function as a reception space. This domestic touch reflects the Warburg Mansion’s history as a family home and brings a note of hospitality to the visitor’s experience. In Eva’s installation, this gesture explodes across as much surface area as possible, fashioning the lobby into a synthetic terrarium.

This new work echoes the rarely seen Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) wall drawings that are part of The Jewish Museum collection. (The influential Minimalist artist is Eva LeWitt’s late father.) His drawings are permanently installed on the second floor, hidden behind the museum’s ever-changing exhibitions. Their bright colours and curvilinear lines are unlike the work he is most known for – monochromatic and rigidly geometric drawings and sculpture. Rather, their playfulness finds new resonance in Eva LeWitt’s engagement with the museum as site.

Untitled (Flora), a solo exhibition by Eva LeWitt, will be at New York's The Jewish Museum until 19 March 2019.