Maya Lin:¬

A Study Of Water

April 21, 2022-September 4, 2022

Virginia MOCA is pleased to present Maya Lin: A Study of Water, a solo exhibition that brings together a selection of the internationally acclaimed artist’s sculptural interpretations of water spanning several decades.

As water has always been an important subject of Lin’s environmentally focused artistic practice, works on view evoke its many forms and patterns, including rivers and their rise, oceans and their tides, icebergs and the detriment their melting poses. Created with artistic intuition and scientific research, the resulting pieces are compelling in their beauty and multivalence. They not only invite discovery, but also encourage contemplation about the many ways in which we need water and manage its powerful bearings on our environment. Lin often represents water as both pathway and boundary. In so doing, she calls forth the implications of its necessity, accessibility, scarcity, and abundance. This thematic presentation at Virginia MOCA correlates the global focus of Lin’s artwork to the unique place and time in which it is now being presented—a delicate landscape of regional waterways in the throes of an urgent battle for ecological balance.

With works from 1994 to today, the exhibition centers on a newly created site-responsive sculptural piece, Marble Chesapeake & Delaware Bay (2022), a breathtaking configuration of glass marbles that map these waterways onto the walls and floor of the gallery. This new piece anchors a selection of additional sculptural representations of water in various media, including riverways made of steel pins, icebergs made of plaster, water droplets made of glass, and waves made of spruce, pine, and fir. Silver Chesapeake (2009), Lin’s recycled silver wall sculpture, will be presented to further manifest the artist’s formal and conceptual considerations of the region’s waterscapes across time and media.

A Study of Water not only highlights Lin’s experiential use of scale and poetic use of common materials, but also her process of mapping as a conceptual framework, what she describes as “revealing things we may not be thinking about.” This mapping, which visualizes water’s natural and man-made contour, rise, ebb, flow, thaw, and evaporation, also elicits a sense of time. In this way Lin connects history—both ancient and recent—to the urgency of today’s climate crisis. This message is perhaps most evident in the presentation of What Is Missing?, an interactive multi-media installation that invites the public to share memories and ecological perspectives of their communities as part of an ongoing, collectivized global timeline Lin defines as her final memorial.

Maya Lin is one of the most renowned visual artists of our time. Beginning her nationally-recognized career at age 21 with the creation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the architect and artist has been celebrated for her contribution to American sculpture for over five decades. After completing two other impactful memorial structures, the Civil Rights Memorial in Alabama, and the Women’s Table at Yale, respectively, Lin turned her creative attention to fine art and architectural projects. Her sculptural pieces have since been presented in prestigious institutions around the world.

Organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Melissa Messina.



Maya Lin Jeremy Bates Film

Maya Lin Marble Install

Curators in Conversation: Maya Lin


Our Supporters

Special thanks to presenting sponsor Dominion Energy with additional support from City of Virginia Beach, The Batten Foundation, Sentara Healthcare, McKenzie Construction Corporation, The Brock Foundation, Suzanne and Vince Mastracco, Arleen Cohen and Family, Susan and Andy Cohen, Andrew and Barbara Fine, Susan and Craig Grube, Steve Lawson and Vivian Montano, Meredith and Brother Rutter, Shavrick & Partners, The Vandeventer Family Foundation in memory of Ann Vandeventer, Linda H. Kaufman, Allison Whitmore, The Runnymede Corporation, Betty Darden, Tom and Alison Johnson, The Esther and Alan Fleder Foundation, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Arts Alliance, the City of Portsmouth, WPL Site Design, Greensward Solutions, and Hercules Fence Company.

Free admission made possible by the Goode Family Foundation.