Tephra ICA Installs Gisela Colón Sculpture in Washington, DC

Tephra ICA Installs Gisela Colón Sculpture in Washington, DC

Due to unforeseen shipping delays, the installation of the Parabolic Monolith Iridium sculpture by light and space artist Gisela Colón, originally planned to take place last week, has been rescheduled.

Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) presents the Parabolic Monolith Iridium, a public sculpture by light and space artist Gisela Colón. The sculpture will be located at the top of James Monroe Park in Washington, DC, steps away from the National Mall, the White House, and the Renwick Gallery. It will be on view beginning Saturday, May 8, and will be the first public sculpture by the artist in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.

The project is generously sponsored by Leidos and Charles P. Johnson & Associates and is presented in partnership with the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID).

Gisela Colón (b. 1966) is known for her light-activated sculptures that feature little to no edges, lines, or place for the viewer to rest their eye, nodding towards an energy of constant fluctuation and growth. Made from carbon fiber material using advanced aerospace technology, the Monolith is a light-weight yet durable object, both from this earth and not of this earth, birthed from a symbiosis of high art and physical science.

“We’re thrilled to bring Gisela’s work to Washington,” said Jaynelle Hazard, Tephra ICA’s Executive Director and Curator. “The Parabolic Monolith Iridium is an object that speaks to the future, to transformation, and especially to hope. It’s symbolism is very much aligned with how we aim to position ourselves and our perspective as an institution.”

This project is paired with Colón’s solo exhibition, Quantum Shift , currently on view at Tephra ICA’s gallery in Reston, VA and is representative of this moment in time when there is a shift in human awareness, marking a new era of discovery. The project’s title sponsor, Leidos, connected with Colón’s work through the intersections of art, science, and humanity. As part of the partnership, Leidos will also team up with Colón to make a charitable donation to Hogares Teresa Toda by way of the Global Giving project, to help empower and foster girls and teens in Puerto Rico. 

“Through our sponsorship we hope to inspire creativity and knowledge in our communities by exploring the interwoven nature of art and science,” said Melissa Lee Dueñas, senior vice president of Leidos. 

“As a leading science and technology company, creativity drives our pursuit of knowledge and solving problems for our customers. We are excited to team up with Ms. Colón on this new exhibit and we look forward to partnering with her to help empower girls and young people in Puerto Rico.” 

As a contemporary Latinx artist, working through her innovative practice of Organic Minimalism, Colón has deconstructed and expanded upon the historically male-dominated canon of minimalism; in result, carving out new space for broader identities in the field. In contrast to traditional, hard-edged, geometrical minimalist works, Colón breaks barriers by creating objects that breath organic life-like qualities into fluid reductive forms. 

“My Monoliths are physical manifestations of vital energy sourced from the Earth and the Cosmos, purposefully channeled into sleek objects that become conduits of transmutation and transformation, emanating radiant energy,” says Colón. “While their outward appearance is high-tech, space-age, and futuristic, they are also visceral, primitive, and reminiscent of ancient cultural artifacts. I seek to address phenomenology and the universal concern of human relationships to the Earth.” 

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Gisela Colón currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. 

Pictured at top: Gisela Colón, Parabolic Monolith Iridium, 2019. Image courtesy of Gisela Colón Studio. 

About Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art

Formerly Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) was introduced earlier this year in a significant rebrand (Tephra ICA). The repositioning emerged as the institution’s programs, audience, and impact continued to evolve over the past several years, and the original name and acronym no longer aligned with the organization’s reach and vision. Learn more. 

Tephra ICA is a non-profit, non-collecting institution committed to promoting innovative contemporary art and thinking. Leading with curiosity and care, the organization is a catalyst, generator, and advocate for visual arts. The institution is devoted to celebrating artists and values the power of art to broaden and shift perspectives, start difficult conversations, and consider alternative ideas. 

Tephra ICA is supported in part by ARTSFAIRFAX, Reston Community Center, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 


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