Turk won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2010 for her ability to impose what appear to be supernatural laws of physics on marble, her favored material and one that can be very unforgiving. Typically, she might begin with a 400-pound block, which she will reduce—via power tools, dentist drills, and stubborn indefatigability—into a svelte, twisty 20-pound infinite loop of stone and ideas. “I’m trying to define a space with just one line,” she says. Like when a child attempts to draw an entire picture without ever lifting their pencil from the page? “Well,” she says with laugh, “sometimes two or three lines.”

“Elizabeth Turk: Cages” runs through March 31, 2012, at Hirschl & Adler Modern, 730 Fifth Ave, New York.