American visual artist Liza Lou is best known for creating incredibly complex large-scale works with incredibly tiny materials like glass beads. Her famous installation, Kitchen, took more than five years to make and included more than 30 million beads. For her more recent work, Lou celebrates the labor-intensive process of making things by hand.
Created across three years and with more than 2.5 million beads, Color Field is an abstract floor installation composed of large blocks of colorful geometric shapes pieced together into one giant arrangement. Lou explains that the project was just as much about the process as it was about the final results. She relied on a large team of workers to help create the blocks that would eventually form the final artwork. As her team sat around tables, arranging long, beaded wires into purposeful grids, Lou found that people would become part of interesting conversations.
“You end up talking in a way you probably wouldn't, sharing things you maybe normally wouldn't share. You kind of free associate,” she explains.” And in that place, people share stories about their lives and it's just genuinely touching and wonderful. I love that the stories and the lives and the hands are embedded in the work and that you can't take that away from the work. It's in the work.”