The Art of Brooklyn: Meet Rachel Mica Weiss
In designing 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, we wanted to make the hotel connected to the community, surroundings, and history in organic and sustainable ways. So, we commissioned works from local artists, asking them to keep in mind all of these factors in their pieces, in order to communicate these connections in visual and thought-provoking ways. In this series, go behind the scenes with the artists and their creations.
Sculptor and installation artist Rachel Mica Weiss didn’t grow up in Brooklyn herself, but her roots in New York run deep: Her father grew up in Canarsie, her mother in Kew Gardens, and she’s been working out of a studio in Sunset Park since she moved to the borough in 2012. In creating her two pieces for 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, she drew on the industrial traditions both of those neighborhoods and of DUMBO, selecting natural and reclaimed materials that require extensive manual labor to shape and manage.
This hard work is most obvious in her lobby installation, “Unbounded,” a carefully arranged collection of 6,000 pounds of hammered and shaped obsidian rocks. Using hand-dyed, rust-hued rope, Weiss tied each rock individually to a wood frame, piling them in such a way that the rocks seem to be tumbling forward from the grand staircase behind them. Not only do the materials used echo Brooklyn’s history and surroundings–from the seafaring tradition of the nearby docks to the piles of rocks that line Brooklyn Bridge Park—but the installation’s illusion of impermanence prompts the viewer to consider both natural and manmade influences on the area.
Further into the hotel, Weiss’s “Breaching” piece divides the 5,000-square-foot Social Space, overlooking the park, as a sort of contemporary tapestry. Inspired by the grand curves of the sides of the ships once docked along the East River and reminiscent of the soaring cables of the Brooklyn Bridge, the 18.5-foot-long installation consists of hand-dyed and delicately faded strands of yarn strung between century-old reclaimed pine beams. Much like the bridge it faces and the ropes it echoes, the artwork seems more fragile than it is, creating a barrier that forces the viewer to move in certain ways in other both to consider it and to move around the room.
To learn more about Brooklyn artist Rachel Mica Weiss, visit her website here.