Washington-based artist Michelle Forsyth constructs ethereal installations that make each intricate element appear as though it is floating in mid-air. In her piece titled Drift, we see a surface of blue flowers hovering and casting its interspersed shadows over a white pedestal. Each of the hundreds of tiny paper-cut figures is held in place with the use of eye hooks, connecting lines of monofilament both from above and below. With a slight transference of air, the horizontal plane’s reaction mimics subtle water currents. Forsyth’s inspiration behind this installation is the Swiss Air Flight 111 crash.
In a similarly constructed piece called Canopy, Forsyth features a present-day interpretation of the forest fires that ravaged southern Maine in 1947. In recent years, the artist photographed one of the hardest hit areas, the town of Waterboro, taking note of the colors present in the re-growth of the area’s forests. She echoes these colors along with the shapes of flowers and leaves and suspends them with strands of man-made fibers.
Like most of the artist’s work there is an amalgamation of visually uplifting imagery and bright colors juxtaposed with a tragic backstory. She says of her work: “My work resides in a space between being intimately beautiful yet conceptually very dark. Memory and loss experienced by others has often been the locus of my work, as I have always identified with a struggle to forget in a culture where private moments of grief and despair are often witnessed in public ways.”