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June 2013
Vol. 32 No 5

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Richmond - Arlene Shechet: Anderson Gallery
by Paul Ryan
Droll and crudely elegant, the nine clay sculptures in “Arlene Shechet: That Time” demonstrate the ubiquity of narrative. The works emerge from instinctual manipulations of clay that occur slowly in the studio through attentive play with gravity, juxtapositions of quirky shapes, and flirtations with contradiction and failure. Their stories reside in iconic abstract forms, solitary caricatures that sustain a double identity. While signifying a range of human characteristics, they retain the essence of their primal origins in dollops of thick mud or lumps and coils of clay. Regarding clay as a three-dimensional drawing material, Shechet pays attention to the medium’s living and mutable nature. The result is that the makeshift becomes a desirable (and permanent) presence, and the unrefined is appreciated as sophisticated. For Shechet, tragedy—in which artist and clay are “characters” susceptible to conflict and/or downfall through their protracted encounter in the studio—befits comedy. These tragicomic narratives involve triumph over adversity (clay’s temperamental nature), as well as a proclivity for surprising and humorous forms. Shechet’s stories are unresolved and never quite defined. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Installation view of “Arlene Shechet: That Time,” 2012.
Denver - Katie Caron: Hinterland Gallery
by John Cotter
Drosscapes, Katie Caron’s recent installation, pirates the language of natural history dioramas to depict an eerie and toxic landscape. The story it tells is unnerving because it is hopeful: nature doesn’t wither on contact with chemical contamination, but changes into something strange, a third landscape. A tree-like form grows down from the ceiling, its elongated branches reaching into a mossy reflecting pool, where they turn day-glo red, pink, green, and white on contact with the water. Is this water nourishing or poisoned? The colors are invasive, and the white looks like pus. The pool reflects the underside of Caron’s Yggdrasil, and gazing down into the reflection, we see those glowing branches reaching directly for us, the way they would reach for the sky, were the world not upside down, or, if the tendrils were prehensile, the way they would reach for prey. The pool itself is made from sheets of mylar, bordered by a ring of moss (constructed, like the tree and tendrils, of expanding foam and flocking). An abstract film (drops of ink veining into clear fluid) projected into the pool is subsequently reflected onto the walls of the space, creating lurid catacombs of light and bathing the whole in an oddly comforting, television glow. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Katie Caron, Drosscapes, 2012. Video projection, mylar, foam, acrylic, and flock, dimensions variable.
Washington, DC - “40 under 40: Craft Futures”: Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
by Sarah Tanguy
When curator Nicholas R. Bell pondered how to celebrate the Renwick’s 40th anniversary, he opted for 40 artists under 40. While he admits that the conceit isn’t novel, the framework allowed him to survey, or sample, rather than chronologize. Even so, shared themes emerged, and age mattered. According to Bell, this post-9/11 generation, whose new normal includes unease and conflict, bears distinctive markers. They hold a renewed interest in the handmade in tandem with an interest in new technologies. They explore recycling and sustainability. And most importantly, in a throwback to an earlier generation, they seek to make the world a better place. To make his selections, Bell eschewed a conventional call for portfolios; instead, he informally polled professional colleagues, hunted the Internet, and visited galleries, fairs, and studios. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Sebastian Martorana, Impressions, 2008. Marble, 8 x 24 x 18 in. from “40 under 40.”
New York - Hijo Nam: Tenri Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
Hijo Nam, a Korean-born artist living in the New York area, recently put on a strong show of sculptures and low reliefs animated by her Buddhist beliefs. Interestingly, much of the integrity of these works stems from their individual orientation, in which the inspiration changes from piece to piece rather than following a path of serial repetition. As a result, each piece feels like it is driven by its own necessity, which results in noticeable variations in form. It isn’t that the works contrast vastly in appearance—many are made with oxidized, rusty steel—but one senses that Nam’s conception for each individual sculpture is a one-off meditation on emptiness, time, and the inherent gravitas of materials. Her work compels us to think—indeed, to meditate—on the innate messages contained in surfaces that appear to have been worn down by time. Nam’s lyrical sensibility finds expression in the use of found materials. In Cylindrical Views (2012), an oxidized steel cylinder, decorated with dark paint, renders the moon, the sea, and other elements taken from nature. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Hijo Nam, Freedom from Avarice, 2012. Copper wire, dimensions variable.
Toronto - Evan Penny: Art Gallery of Ontario
by Krystina Mierins
Evan Penny’s sculptures, while bringing to mind the work of Duane Hanson and Ron Mueck, are presented in ways that confuse the viewer’s understanding. Penny, who explores the space between the two-dimensional and human perception, is concerned with how images in the digital age are increasingly modified and moving further away from reality. His exploration was inspired by the 1998 exhibition “Artificial: Figuracions Contemporanies” at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, which presented Thomas Ruff’s large-scale photographic portraits across from sculptural portraits by Stefan Hablutzel. Penny became interested in the play of real and replica and how these art forms reinforced, and diminished, each other’s authenticity. As visitors entered “Re Figured,” they were confronted with a sculpture and photograph, both titled Stretch #1 (2003). The distorted male faces created a funhouse-like experience. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Evan Penny, Young Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Was (Not) #1, 2011. Silicone, pigment, hair, fabric, and aluminum, 76 x 86 x 59 cm.
Tel Aviv - Guy Zagursky:
Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery
by Angela Levine
In past sculptural installations and performances, artist and musician Guy Zagursky has pursued the theme of power and its downfall. In a video documenting an arm-wrestling competition held at the 2006 Art Basel, for example, Zagursky is crowned World Champion of Art, after wrestling with and defeating artists, critics, and gallery owners. His recent exhibition, conceived after his return from a two-year residency in Berlin and set against a background of civil unrest in Europe and reports of police brutality, featured objects that served as metaphors for potential violence. Plastic shields of the type used by riot police around the world were suspended in a row on the far wall of the gallery, each one accompanied by a pair of steel batons. When viewers treaded on the floor, they activated a mechanism that caused the batons to begin beating the shields—a metaphor, surely, for victims turning on their aggressors. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Guy Zagursky, installation view of “No Lifeguard on Duty,” 2012.
Aichi Prefecture, Japan - Noe Aoki:
Toyota City Museum and Nagoya City Museum
by Kazuko Nakane
In the field of Japanese heavy metal sculpture, Noe Aoki stands out for her transformation of iron into a malleable, almost lightweight material. A 1983 graduate of Musashino Art University, outside of Tokyo, she has been included in numerous museum group shows and was awarded a Minister of Education New Artist Prize in 2000. This show marked her first major retrospective exhibition. The visual quality of iron remains intact, even in her earliest pieces. An abstract assembly of iron staffs can evoke a mound of holders for prayer candles (Untitled, 1992) or a large bundle of torchlights (Untitled, 1997). Aoki seems fond of upward growth in these works. Cumulus Cloud (2002), on the other hand, looks like a pile of old scraps at first, without immediate reference. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Noe Aoki, moya (cloud valley), 2012. Iron, installation view.
Auckland, New Zealand - “Summer of Sculpture”: Wynyard Quarter
by Robin Woodward
In conjunction with the ISC symposium International Dialogue, Outdoor Sculpture 2001 Incorporated Society (New Zealand’s only sculptors’ society) initiated, curated, and presented “Summer of Sculpture.” Organized by artists Charlotte Fisher, Neil Miller, and Richard Mathieson, the show populated Auckland’s newly developed Wynyard Quarter waterfront with the works of 24 New Zealand sculptors. Some were traditional, three-dimensional objects, while others were acoustic, projected image, and text-based pieces. A cluster of decommissioned silos and the outdoor urban/industrial areas of the Wynyard Quarter provided distinct spaces for this wide-ranging exhibition. Installations were housed in the 140-foot chambers of the silos and dramatically lit by natural light channeled through louver windows. Fiona Garlic’s cautionary tale in the form of a giant plywood charm bracelet floated just above head height. John Radford’s monster cardboard bolt screwed its way through a wall and out the other side. Louise Purvis responded to her silo by constructing a 12-foot-high, cage-like church out of steel modules. Christine Hellyar’s Gathering brought together three human-size, bronze plant forms, and Chiara Corbelletto suspended net-like polypropylene structures from a 30-foot internal steel walkway. ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Chiara Corbelletto, Complex Simplicity, 2013. Polypropylene, 9 ft. high. from “Summer of Sculpture.”

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