Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings

Nancy Holt
Western Washington University
Brown Mountain stone schist from British Columbia
Height: 10 ft. (3 m); Outer Ring Diameter: 40 ft. (12.2 m); Inner Ring Diameter: 20 ft. (6.1 m)

Two circular, concentric stone walls, augmented by arched entryways and round openings, are secluded on the grounds of Western Washington University. Depending on one’s position and proximity, the walls’ openings create myriad shapes and perceptions of space. Views change with the fluctuations of light and weather, the fog and rain typical of the Pacific Northwest altering the stones’ substance and obstructing visibility. It took 1,400 hours to erect ​Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings—​in her writings on the work, Holt muses on its existence as a concrete testament to the ephemeral concepts of time and labor.

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Scholarly Text

Doubling Down: Nancy Holt’s Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings

Barbara Miller

Circles everywhere! Upon entering Nancy Holt’s 2018 solo exhibition at Dia Art Foundation in Chelsea, New York City the observer is engulfed by a network of flat circular line drawings, round cast shadows, and orbicular light pools. Circles also appear dimensionally: as dark voids cut into walls and as mirrored surfaces shaped into orbs. Very tangibly Holt’s circles telescope out, forming lens-less viewfinders. As one stoops to look through cast-iron spyholes, for example in Dual Locators (1972), a tunneling effect occurs: circles become layered onto circles.

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