Cornelia Parker (1956) is a British artist who originally trained as a painter but is known for her sculptures and installation pieces. In 1997 she was short listed for the Turner Prize which is named for the artist J.M.W. Turner and is awarded annually by the Tate institute to a visual artist under the age of fifty. Ms. Parker is recognized for her large scale installations where she suspends destroyed or altered found objects, as three dimensional art.
Ms. Parker’s work ‘Mass’ (1997) is part of the Phoenix Art Museums permanent collection and in my opinion one of the Museums best pieces.
The room which contains the installation could be larger and one is not able to walk around the piece, taking away from the installations full potential, yet hardly challenging its beauty. ‘Mass’ is made up of several pieces of charcoal suspended on transparent threads. The hanging parts are larger and denser in the middle and expand to smaller and more widely spaced periphery of a cube shape. It is actually the seemingly flawless shape of the cube produced, by fragmented pieces, which impressed me. The parts of the whole seem to be suspended not only in air but in time. There is the sense of an explosion contained within the invisible limitations of a box. The work is lit from above which further creates an airy atmosphere.
The plaque describes the work as coming from the fragments retrieved from a church struck by lightening and burnt to the ground in Lytle, Texas.
There is more to Ms. Parker’s artist mission statement in relation to ‘Mass’ namely that it is made by remnants of a Caucasian congregation which can be juxtaposed with a subsequent work titled ‘Mass (Colder Darker Matter)’ (1998) made from pieces scavenged from an African American church destroyed by arsonists.
Ms. Parker’s work has been described as 'Found Art' as well as 'Art Intervention', both categories of art that suggest the creation of a new art using previously existing art work.
Here is an interesting article about Ms. Parker: