News Column

Performance artist livens up downtown pedestrian bridge

August 16, 2014

By Mike Anderson, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa

Aug. 16--WATERLOO -- Estephanie Gonzalez slowly twined her arm through the rainbow web and moved. Forward.

The look on her face was peaceful and faraway. Elsewhere. Arcing her leg through a tangled gap, she spun on her heel and pulled.

"The idea is you're creating art in living space," Gonzalez said. "I see this as a conceptual way to express time and the personal experiences we go through."

Gonzalez is a senior art history and performance art student at the University of Northern Iowa. For one of her courses, Gonzalez was instructed to create a piece around the idea of doorways.

"One door shuts and another one opens," Gonzalez said.

Not quite sure what she would do, she went for a drive. The pedestrian tunnel on the Fourth Street Bridge jumped out at her.

"I just loved this continuous space as a representation of time," Gonzalez said, gesturing down the tunnel. "The past leads into the present. And things aren't always peachy along the way. It gets a little messy. You go through obstacles. But sometimes the messy parts end up being the best ones."

It took her a couple of hours to weave the chromatic labyrinth into place. Alone for awhile, she seemed to dance effortlessly through the crisscrossing mesh of yarn, an obstacle that baffled more than a couple of passersby.

"Is it a trap?" one man asked before gingerly stepping through himself.

Bicyclists either hefted their 21-speeds onto their shoulders as they passed or pedaled through haphazardly, tangling their gears in the strands as they hurried by.

But people were positive for the most part.

"I like it," said Bryson Fontaine, another art student passing by with a few friends. "It's a cool idea."

"It reminds me of a laser maze," said Gabrielle McNichol.

Performance art didn't gain widespread acknowledgment until the 1960s and 1970s with the works of pioneers of the form like Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic.

Inspired by these and other artists, Gonzalez, threw herself into the study of performance art.

"Performance artists use their bodies as their work," Gonzalez said. "I think it's a bigger challenge when you put yourself into a piece."

Gonzalez will soon achieve her bachelor's degree for performance art, an occasion that is to be marked by a show at the UNI Gallery of Art in May. She's not sure what she'll do yet, but she's looking forward to the day.

Until then she, like the rest of us, will be navigating the maze.


(c)2014 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

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Source: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (IA)

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