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Alastair Noble: Imagination Made Material
by Michael Howard

Alastair Noble is an English sculptor living and working in New York. His diverse and compelling body of work includes resonant sculptures and installations that invite viewers to engage in a creative collaboration, and in so doing, to undertake their own imaginative journeys into a terrain where material, space, and ideas coincide in objects of stunning visual power. Noble’s works can be seen as an artistic response to architecture and literature, creating a dialogue between two crucial activities by which we attempt to order and tame the world. Nurtured by the writings of Poe, Mallarmé, Joyce, and Borges, his sculptures are not empty academic exercises in intertextual reading; instead, they give occasion for a rich experience of aesthetic and intellectual delight.

Sculpture has always been tested by its architectural context—consider the unsettling brilliance of the Neolithic structures at Newgrange, Ireland, the iconic power of the ruins of the Parthenon, and the dense symbolism and grace of Chartres Cathedral. There is a symbiotic relationship between architecture and sculpture: how they operate together through light, place, and time and how their interwoven meanings and significances shift and change. Such ideas are the building blocks of Noble’s work. Never overwhelmed by literary or architectural references, the final pieces create forms and allusions that are at once mysterious and accessible.

 


Zang Tumb Tumb II, 2005.
Paper, fluorescent lighting, and mixed media, view of installation at Arizona State University, Tucson.


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