Crocheted mountains and bamboo building

Upon peering into Burlington City Arts’ (BCA) front gallery, you will find crocheted mountains and a playground of bamboo tetrahedrons any child or grown adult would like to climb, the walls lined with prints of fine rope smattered in paint. From Church Street, artist and architect Alisa Dworsky’s installations — collectively called “Drawing Strength” — invite in passers-by.   The BCA east gallery conveniently faces out onto the street, where tall, black, hand-crocheted rope mountains fill the room titled “Surface Tension.” The exhibit has become increasingly popular, with people of all ages walking in for a look, perhaps more so than those in the past, event manager Lisa Long said. “The front gallery … it should be eye-grabbing,” Long said.  “I think people want to spend a lot more time to see and understand it.” Visitors are inclined to touch and are encouraged to do so.  The complexity of the design is accessible up close by a sample Dworsky has made available, allowing ponderous minds to get personal with the material. Dworsky’s deconstruction of a mountain range, and then reconstruction back into the same concept with a contrasting medium, is in itself intriguing.   Mountains stand for strength and permanence, so taking rope — strong, but malleable in human hands — opens up for interpretation the idea of natural versus man-made landscapes. You feel like a giant walking around the black landscape at eye level, this man-made creation artfully hung from the ceiling to represent a very organic construct.   Droplets of black rope hang amidst the mountains filled with gray stones. Although Dworsky intended her work to resemble mountains, curious children see witch hats and Long herself saw scales. “The Aquarius sign, weighed down with stones,” Long said. In comparison, “Surface Tension” is much more stimulating and conducive to interaction with the visitor than Dworsky’s “Points of View” in the west gallery.   In “Points of View,” poles of bamboo striped with white and blue paint are joined by clear plastic piping; networked into tetrahedrons.  It is much more still and quiet compared to the black mountains, which are loud in presence. “I think that it could have been more exciting for it to feel like a different world, more interactive,” senior and BCA intern Celeste Morton said of “Surface Tension.” “I think the exhibit in front does more with space.  [With ‘Points of View’] there is not much aesthetic pleasure.” With this said, it is important to point out one interesting feature of the bamboo playground — the blue tape.  The level of the blue tape accurately represents the horizon of the waterfront. With headlamps provided by the exhibit, the reflective tape illuminates this seemingly absent architectural detail. As an architect, Dworsky’s attention to the minute, the conceptual and the immense comes through in an exciting new way, and the BCA is the perfect place to showcase that.