International Sculpture Center

   
December 2012
Vol. 31 No 4

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Richmond, Virginia - “you, your sun and shadow”: Anderson Gallery
by Dinah Ryan
Almost as if curator Michael Jones McKean had assembled a collection of artifacts for private contemplation, “you, your sun and shadow” offered a meditation on the function of sculpture, implying that it provides opportunities to consider the relevance of subject/object relations in an everyday world. The title invokes an underlying solipsism—not self-absorption, but an inevitable interiority that must be examined through an active engagement with the material poetics of objects. McKean describes sculpture as “a subjective index of dimensional marks and moves, materials and meta-fictions opening inward.” ....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Hany Armanious, Happiness, 2010. Pigmented polyurethane resin and pewter, 27.5 x 43 x 29 in.
From “you, your sun and shadow.”
Washington, DC - Joseph and John Dumbacher: Curator’s Office
by Sarah Tanguy
The title of a recent show by fraternal twins Joseph and John Dumbacher—“elsewhere: a call to the open road or an antidote to whatever”—offers a decided yes to both options. The focused selection of five sculptures and 10 drawings signals a breakthrough in their risk- taking while affirming that their works are anything but random. Their ties to architecture and their collaborative process remain constants. Joseph lives in Pasadena and John in Washington, DC. During the initial phase, they send each other sketches and rough foam and tape sculptures via e-mail, fax, and mail, which they revise until they reach agreement. A technical blueprint of each model is then created and turned over to a machinist, who mills the design from a solid aluminum block in the case of a small-scale sculpture. These works involve increased fabrication at their California studio, allowing for greater experimentation with form and scale. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Joseph and John Dumbacher, #286, 2011. Anodized aluminum and steel screws, 13.17 x 5.83 x 4.67 ft.
Washington, DC - Rachel Rotenberg: Hillyer Art Space
by Aneta Georgievska-Shine
One of the most compelling aspects of Rachel Rotenberg’s sculptures is their singular admixture of delicacy and robustness. The first of these qualities comes from the apparently effortless ways in which she turns, pulls, and molds her materials—typically cedar planks, often combined with tree limbs or vines—into endlessly suggestive forms, complete with subtle color accents. The robustness, on the other hand, is more a function of projected energy than physical scale. Though this Canadian-born and Baltimore-based sculptor has been exhibiting for almost three decades, her work has only lately begun to gain the critical attention that it deserves. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Rachel Rotenberg, Before Midnight, 2012. Wood, vine, and oil paint, 86 x 78 x 46 in.
Des Moines, Iowa - Miguel Angel Rios: Des Moines Art Center
by Susan Platt
The title of Miguel Angel Rios’s recent exhibition, “Walkabout,” suggests the idea of a spiritual quest through unknown terrain. Rios traverses multiple spiritual and physical landscapes as he transforms memories from his roots in Catamarca, a remote area of Northern Argentina, into videos, sound installations, sculptures, and drawings. Although he left Argentina in the 1970s during the strife of the Argentinian dictatorships, and currently resides in Mexico, his work combines that remembered past, seen from a variety of compelling perspectives, with a sophisticated vocabulary of international art conventions....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Miguel Angel Rios, Rooom, Rooom, 2010. DVD, single-channel projection, 3:03 min.
New York - Wilhelm Lehmbruck: Michael Werner Gallery
by Stephanie Buhmann
The first major Wilhelm Lehmbruck exhibition in the U.S. in more than two decades has reconfirmed his importance as one of the most progressive sculptors of the early 20th century. In fact, it leaves one lamenting that there has only been one American museum retrospective to date, at the National Gallery of Art in 1972. Like his contemporaries Auguste Rodin and Aristide Maillol, Lehmbruck had significant international impact, during his life and beyond. In 1986, for example, almost 70 years after Lehmbruck’s premature death, Joseph Beuys credited him as his main inspiration for taking up sculpture. As a Modernist, Lehmbruck aimed to find a new visual language for expressing human emotions. Though he had a classic sensibility for structural harmony, his figures are far from idealistic. They are symbolic but rooted in life, abstract in that they depict not individuals but aspects of the human soul. Stylistically, Lehmbruck’s works are hybrids. Gothic and Romantic aesthetics can be traced, as well as an affinity for Mannerist forms. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Head of a Thinker, 1918. Cast stone, 24.75 x 22.75 x 13.5 in.
New York - Kosyo Minchev: Stux Gallery
by Robert C. Morgan
Bulgarian-born Kosyo Minchev creates works that are incisive in their commentary, wit, material cognizance, and unpretentious formality. His sculptures reach out somewhere between aesthetics and politics, or, better put, they implant politics within aesthetics. Working from the premise of a three-dimensional tactility through concealment, Minchev also proceeds to address the virtual, or at least the presence of the virtual, as a ruse for continuing his understated visionary exploration. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Above: Kosyo Minchev, Lamb #5, 2009–10. Aqua resin, 12 x 23 x 22 in.
New York - Fred Sandback: David Zwirner
by Jonathan Goodman
When the Victorian poet Robert Browning coined the phrase “less is more” in a poem about the painter Andrea del Sarto, he could not have known how apt it would be in regard to the string sculptures of Fred Sandback. A stylistic colleague of the Minimalist sculptors of the 1960s and ’70s, Sandback evolved a language that made the most out of acrylic yarn, a highly humble material. This show, which featured works from 1968 to 2000, included a reconstruction of the Galerie Heiner Friedrich in Munich, a space for which Sandback designed many works in the 1960s and 1970s. Consisting of acrylic yarn used to divide inner spaces, these sculptures were reduced to the sparest means possible. But their complexity was—and is—extraordinary, despite the fact that viewers might be perplexed by the sheer lack of physical materials. One uses the adjective “physical” because the lines define and carve up space, subtly moving visitors through their orientation. The decision to reproduce the German gallery’s space was both inspired and scholarly. It keeps alive a remarkable installation in which Sandback really put his creativity to use. Untitled (Sculptural Study, Four-part Mikado Construction) (1991/ 2012) consists of four aqua-colored, acrylic yarn cords, set up in a large space (Mikado refers to the game of pick-up sticks)....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Twelve-Part Vertical Construction), ca. 1987/2012.
Black, blue, and yellow acrylic yarn, dimensions variable.
New York - Allison Schulnik: Ziehersmith
by Matthew Kangas
Widely acclaimed in Los Angeles- oriented group shows in the U.S., Europe, Russia, and Israel, Allison Schulnik is a good example of a young artist coming out of the CalArts experimental animation program. Her third New York show, which combined sculpture, painting, and animation video, took on the atmosphere of a dark and threatening circus sideshow, the works all bound together by an utterly individual, somewhat funky West Coast sensibility. At the center was the large-scale projection Mound, a 4.5-minute videotape of dozens of animated clay figures accompanied by the 1969 British pop tune “It’s Raining Today,” sung by transplanted American musician Scott Walker. Choreographed like a ballet with archetypal fairy-tale characters assembling and decomposing before our eyes, the film includes a heartbreaking passage involving what appear to be three scarecrows in tutus dancing in a chorus line. In the background, piles of sludge rise into individually sculpted figures, complete with moving phalluses, both flaccid and rigid. With scowling faces and frantically waving limbs, they rush toward exhausted collapse and return to primordial lumps. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Allison Schulnik, Standing Gin #3, 2011. Glazed porcelain and plastic pedestal, ceramic: 19 x 12 x 9 in.
Pittsburgh - “Gestures: Intimate Friction”: Mattress Factory
by Elaine A. King
It was no surprise that “Gestures: Intimate Friction,” guest-curated by Mary-Lou Arscott, a British architect living in Pittsburgh, included architects and designers in addition to visual artists. In her statement, Arscott explains, “Our physical reality bumps up against us and then disappears from view…The process of creating the installations in this exhibition will be collapsing, constructive, and collaborative.” “Intimate Friction” aimed to engage viewers on several levels, going beyond the visual to encourage physical experience and participation. Nina Marie Barbuto, Dee Briggs, Nick Durrant, Jeremy Ficca, Pablo Garcia, Jenn Gooch, Ling He, Matt Huber, Nick Liadis, Gill Wildman, Spike Wolff, and the collective Transformazium were given several weeks, extensive support, and the freedom to produce new works. Briggs’s Art You Can Get Into…if you have $12, an indoor/outdoor piece at the 1414 annex building, was both critical and lighthearted, motivated by the artist’s interest in public space and museum pricing and accessibility. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Dee Briggs, Art You Can Get Into…if you have $12, 2012. Galvanized steel tube, mirrors, glass, paint, and rivets, 2 views of installation. From “Intimate Friction.”
Providence, Rhode Island - Spencer Finch: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
by Marty Carlock
In homage to Monet, Spencer Finch titled his recent exhibition “Painting Air.” A quotation from the Impressionist painter, the phrase also riffs on the familiar description of Impressionism as “painting light,” though “sculpting” air might have been more accurate in Finch’s case. Along with a major new installation, he showed such conceptual conceits as Nine Melting Snowflakes—a blank sheet of paper on which (we have to take his word for it) nine flakes of snow landed and melted on December 31, 2008—and an ice machine that ejects ice cubes into a pool whose intense blue (he says) replicates the sky he saw while standing on a New Zealand glacier....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Spencer Finch, installation view of “Painting Air,” 2012
Dallas - Claire Ashley: H. Paxton Moore Fine Art Gallery, El Centro College
by Charissa Terranova
Claire Ashley’s pneumatic objects are singular yet referential. Each giant, pillowy creature has a presence so unique it is easy to overlook the heterogeneous array of influences. Clown sports multi-colored horns and one leg that sits out lazily in front of its trunk. The center of its cutely bloated, pastel pink belly is marked by a dripping bull’s eye—reminiscent of both a Jasper Johns painting and an assassinated Michelin Man. In terms of the inflatable in art, this Scottish, Chicago-based artist cuts a trail marked by others before her: Warhol with Silver Clouds (1966) and Martin Creed who invited participant/viewers to squeeze their way through a gallery full of balloons in 2011. Both painterly and creaturely, Ashley’s floaties are avant-garde and kitsch, bastard children of a union between Jules Olitski’s colorful giants and Lynda Benglis’s drippy latex wall attachments. With a wheel of primary and secondary colors at its center, Oddball would seem nothing more than an exercise in color theory, but its bulbousness and location high on the wall just below the ceiling made it into something far more interesting: a smooth-sheathed space alien....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Claire Ashley, Clown, 2012. Spray paint on plasticized canvas tarpaulin and fan, 120 x 96 x 72 in.
Buenos Aires - Pablo Dompé: Recoleta Cultural Center
by María Carolina Baulo
Pablo Dompé learned his craft while working with his sculptor father. The son of two artists—a sculptor and a painter—he ultimately discovered that sculpture was his language of expression. He is building an extraordinary personal aesthetic of the organic and the visceral, with prominent volumes that combine abstraction and subtle figuration while invading both public and private space. Dompé uses a variety of materials: stone, wood, resin, and concrete. He complements carving with welding in different metals, modeling, and drawing. The presence of his curving masses in space and the chance to walk around them (many of these pieces are of considerable size) allow artist and viewer to interact. His organic forms refer to the kingdom of the living—flora and fauna, human beings and their vital organs. Those references become part of a symbolizing process, carrying meanings derived from Dompé’s inner dialogues and questions; the forms challenge us to understand what they represent and what messages they hide. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Pablo Dompé, Portal, 2008. Calacatta marble, 66 x 60 x 24 cm.
Paris - Paris Triennale: Palais de Tokyo
by Olga Stefan
Not the Paris Triennale of yesteryear, Okwui Enwezor’s ambitious “Intense Proximity” was a post-identity, post-national exhibition that argued for a common visual language shared by contemporary artists the world over, all similarly preoccupied with the complexities of the globalized world. Despite a veneer of identity politics reminiscent of shows from the ’90s, “Intense Proximity” was relevant to Europe now, as the Old World struggles to understand what happens when “the distance between the Self and the Other, between us and them, has collapsed.” The exhibition integrated early 20th-century ethnographic documentation in the form of film and photography with projects undertaken by contemporary artists, thus offering viewers a perspective on how we construct our understanding of the Other. The clearest example of such construction came in the video installation The Fourth Wall, by German artist Clemens von Wedemeyer, which was projected in the cavernous depths of the unfinished Palais. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Dominik Lang, Sleeping City, 2011. Mixed media, dimensions variable. From the Paris Triennale.

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