Janet Echelman occupies airspace in metropolitan cities around the world to install fluidly moving sculptures using fishing nets. Nets are good responders to wind, water, and sunlight, and other environmental changes. She views public art as team effort; to install her projects she collaborates with a range of professionals such as mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects…etc.
Before working with nets, Echelman worked with other materials to create sculptures, such as bronze, but found them too heavy. One day while watching local fishermen pack their nets, it dawned on her that nets could be a new approach to sculpture making; a way to create volume without heavy, solid materials. She found her passion in fishing nets.
This 230 foot long net sculpture called “1.26” installed on July 6th, 2010, is suspend from the roof of the Denver Art Museum above downtown street to commemorate the inaugural Biennial of the Americas.
The City of Denver commissioned Echelman to create a sculpture in which to explore a theme of interconnectedness of 35 nations that make up the Western Region. She got her inspiration from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s announcement that the quake in Chile on February 2010 shortened the earth’s day by 1.26 microseconds. She used a three dimensional form of the quakes ripples across the Pacific Ocean that formed a tsunami, as the basis for her sculpture. Because this sculpture is made of soft materials, it is tossed and moved by the wind resembling the ripple effects of the earth quake.