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Personal Archeology

Kathy Taslitz
Artwork Type
Media & Support
aluminum on steel
Public Library
Manhattan Beach Library
1320 Highland Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA
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Latitude: -118.410357 - Longitude: 33.887079
Image: Personal Archeology

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Personal Acheology is a wall relief sculpture depicting kelp that spans 20 feet in length. Feaeaturing several kelp pods and 10 feet-tall leaves, the sculpture undulates up the wall and across the ceiling of the ramp from the first floor to the mezzanine level.

To gather inspiration for the artwork designs, artist Kathy Taslitz spent time in Manhattan Beach interviewing people in the historic Metlox Plaza and beachfront boardwalk near the library. A local historian provided Taslitz with insight on notable events that helped shape the character of Manhattan Beach. Extracted from her interviews with community members, words describing the city are embedded in the intricate pattern of the kelp leaves. Library visitors are encouraged to discover words in the leaves of the sculpture as they walk by and underneath it. A reservoir of words touching on significant points in the city’s history, traditions and natural surroundings—the sculpture is intended to encourage conversation and storytelling at the library.

To create this artwork, Taslitz first sculpted each of the seven kelp leaf and pod forms out of foam by hand. Next, metalworkers created a series of fiberglass molds from the sculpted foam forms to cast pieces of the sculpture in aluminum. Several smaller cast pieces were welded together, smoothed and refined to create a complete stem with pods and each of the seven leaf forms. Finally, these elements were finished with a blackened, deep green patina.

About the Artist

Kathy Taslitz was raised around the monumental sculptures of Chicago and draws her inspiration directly from humanity, nature and technology. The work she creates ranges in scope from monumental pieces of bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, fiberglass and silicone as well as mixed media with projected imagery and sound. By sensitively examining the diametrically opposed yet essentially related configurations of natural elements and 21st century culture, she creates seductive juxtapositions of form and idea.
Her polished forms invoke a quiet sense of power. A power that isn’t self-referential, rather it draws upon both the primordial and mechanical to remind the viewer of the universal cycle of existence. Using cogent amalgams of compliments and opposites, her works create subtle relationships between nature and humanity, the technological and the organic, and the gentle way fragility has the capacity to overpower strength.
Taslitz’ sculptures infer a connection between natural objects and the invisible forces that shape the course of human life. This work conveys familiar human emotions – vulnerability, strength, connection and isolation with anthropomorphic forms from the natural world. She draws her inspiration directly from nature. Birth, death, renewal- the basic outline to the story of all human life; the beginning, the end and the struggle in between are ongoing narratives. These are themes that lay just beneath the surface of her work.
The artist currently resides in Los Angeles, California.