International Sculpture Center

   


May 2013
Vol. 32 No 4

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Ephraim, Utah - Jared Steffensen:
Central Utah Art Center
by Cara Despain
Jared Steffensen’s solo exhibition, “Mom’s always afraid I am going to hurt myself…I usually do,” was at once blithe and sophisticated, sparking an unexpected (and even overlapping) dialogue between skateboarding and formalism. Using a once underground, now mainstream culture as his starting point, Steffensen consolidated tropes common to both skateboarding and art-making—riffing on existing environmental elements and recognizing the potential of objects. Referencing Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, action art, geometric abstraction, and early video art, Steffensen marries two seemingly disparate realms. The physical endeavor of skateboarding and the evidence it leaves behind are two of his specific springboards. His works seem to fall into one of two inverse forms: abstracted constructions made for skating and abstractions of marks made by the action of skating. The first re-scales recognizable forms such as ramps and rails and recontextualizes them as sculptures; the second draws on the environment and architecture as form, implying movement and action (as in ABD, which placed brightly colored marks along ledges and handrails in the building). ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Jared Steffensen, Corner Pocket, 2012. Wood, 6 x 6 x 4 ft.
Los Angeles - Charles Ray: Matthew Marks Gallery
by Katherine Satorius
Figurative sculpture has been a mainstay of Charles Ray’s work since his early days as an artist, when he pinned his elevated body against the wall with a board (Plank Piece I and II, 1973) and arranged himself naked on metal shelves, merging the hard forms and surfaces of Minimalism with their antithesis, flesh. Since then, the figurative line of his work has shifted to life-like fiberglass sculptures such as Oh Charley, Charley, Charley (1992), the group orgy scene starring eight copies of himself, and to painted metal works like the white steel Boy With Frog (2009), permanently installed on Venice’s Grand Canal. Ray’s first solo show in L.A. since his 2007 exhibition of Hinoki, a reconstructed fallen tree, contains two figures: Young Man and Sleeping Woman (both 2012) in solid stainless steel, polished to a soft sheen. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Charles Ray, Sleeping Woman, 2012. Solid stainless steel, 35.5 x 44.5 x 50 in.
San Francisco - Ann Weber:
Dolby Chadwick Gallery
by Peter Selz
Ann Weber’s large organic sculptures exist in the borderland between abstraction and figuration. Many of her swelling bodies evoke the female form, while others are products of her ingenious imagination. We are also reminded of chess pieces, doughnuts, balloons, and bobbins. Some appear like bowling pins, and one looks a little like a bugle horn. Her materials are as simple as can be: salvaged cardboard, which is cut into strips, held together by staples, and then shellacked for protection. The polyurethane coating lends a rich gloss to the finished works. Depending on the cardboard, the work is likely to be off-white, beige, or brown. Some of the pieces are enlivened by color, depending on the labels or advertisements. Weber’s work, using stuff that is readily available, recalls Arte Povera sculptures by Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, and Michelangelo Pistoletto, who worked with simple, everyday materials. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Ann Weber, installation view with (left to right) For the Love of Frank Lloyd Wright, 2012, found cardboard, staples, PVC pipe, and polyurethane, 3 pieces; You My Butterfly, 2012, found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 2 pieces; and Miracles and Wonder, 2012, found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 2 pieces.
Washington, DC - “Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes”: National Gallery of Art
by Cathryn Keller
An exquisite touring exhibition of small Renaissance bronzes by the sculptor known as Antico shows that strategies of appropriation and serialization, often considered to have originated in the 20th century, have an illustrious and much longer history. This tiny jewel box of treasures—37 statuettes, busts, reliefs, and medals brought together for the first time—remedies the historic invisibility of an artist who transformed the art and technology of bronze sculpture half a millennium ago, but didn’t rate a mention in Vasari’s Lives. His nickname means “old,” but the concerns of the Mantuan court artist Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (c. 1455–1528) seem contemporary. These highly refined, gilded and silvered bronzes display a stunning mix of fine craft, sumptuous finishes, and technological innovation and luxury, making them as desirable as the sleekest new iProduct. The centerpiece of the show was an elegant Seated Nymph, probably made in 1503. Barely eight inches tall, it shimmers with a rich interplay of gilding, silvering, and Antico’s signature black patination. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Antico, Seated Nymph, c. 1503. Bronze with gilding and silvering, 19.5 cm. high.
Chicago - Richard Hunt: McCormick Gallery
by Diane Thodos
Richard Hunt’s recent exhibition of rarely seen early sculptures and works on paper was a remarkable mini-retrospective of pieces never exhibited outside his studio in Benton Harbor (Michigan) since they were created in the mid-1950s. They demonstrate how Hunt was able to forge a personal sculptural identity at a time when the subjective and expressive content of the Modernist imagination was still thriving, driven by Surrealist automatism and subconscious expression. Abstract Expressionism, with its themes of mythopoetic tragedy and existential anxiety, as well as the work of Spanish sculptor Julio González, were among Hunt’s early influences. The earliest pieces, from 1955, depict skeletal humanoids that owe a debt to Giacometti’s post-apocalyptic figures. Hunt followed these with a remarkable series of welded amalgamations that included scrap yard cast-offs such as chair legs, tubes, bicycle parts, a wheel, a doorknob, and segments of tire rims. Poetically re-humanized by their rusty surfaces, these works surprise with their inventive and animated suspension in space. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Richard Hunt, Construction O, 1956. Cottonwood and steel, 55 x 32 x 23 in.
East Hampton, New York - Costantino Nivola:
The Drawing Room
by Stephanie Buhmann
Trained as a mason in Sardinia, where he was born and raised, Costantino Nivola (1911–88) embraced carving and casting throughout his career. Though this background equipped him with a profound knowledge of traditional materials and techniques, he never shied away from exploring a wide range of resources. Concrete and terra cotta were as much a part of his regular vocabulary as marble, fossil-embedded travertine, and bronze. His experimentation with materials, combined with a devotion to abstracted form, made Nivola a true Modernist. In 1939, he and his wife, Ruth Guggenheim, immigrated to New York City, and by 1948, they had settled in The Springs on Long Island, where they befriended neighboring artists, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, among others. In addition to an interest in Cubism, this connection to the Abstract Expressionists encouraged Nivola’s search for an individual symbolism rooted in abstraction, though he would never abandon figurative references for good. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Costantino Nivola, “Architectures,” 1981. Bronze, installation view.
New York - Dave Cole: DODGEgallery
by Jan Garden Castro
On first seeing Dave Cole’s recent exhibition, I was struck by the animatronic and craft features in its main attraction, The Music Box, a 13-ton asphalt compactor reconstructed into a working music box that plays “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The bumper is crafted from cherry wood, and, on closer inspection, some of the machine’s other parts have been meticulously reproduced to permit its dismantling and functioning as an art object. Another labor-intensive work consisted of a hand-sewn American flag, made of lead yet detailed with the wrinkles and stitches of cloth. Cole’s flags vary in size from monumental to small, but they all use the government-issue scale template. Nearby, a Singer sewing machine seemed to be searching the Internet for the key to its operating system, its needle printing a coded message on a spool of ticker tape. Cole’s work deploys highly charged—and transformed—symbols. On second viewing, what stood out was Cole’s deep commitment to metaphors that, for him, embody Langston Hughes’s refrain for underserved populations: “I, too, sing America.” Cole seems to contrast industrial might, Fortune 500 companies, and American icons with various vulnerable symbols, from babies to veterans. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Dave Cole, Song-Books of The War, 2012. Mixed media, wheelchair, and 20,000 buffalo nickels, 49.75 x 26 x 43 in.
McMinnville, Oregon - Crystal Schenk:
Linfield Gallery
by Elizabeth Lopeman
Crystal Schenk’s installation Artifacts of Memory started off as a vague image in her mind connected to the loss and longing that she experienced after her mother’s suicide. She captured these qualities by creating a circular field of magnets, one set hung from the ceiling and the other tethered to the floor using nearly invisible wire. The result was an almost magically hovering, two-level cloud of objects, with a plane of empty space separating them. The installation had an overpowering and almost disorienting effect on people entering the room—they immediately slowed down, stopped talking, and brought themselves into line with the quieter, more meditative energy of the room. There was an air of mystery as people stared in fascination, wondering how the pods managed to hover. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Crystal Schenk, Artifacts of Memory, 2012. 1100 magnets, silk flower petals, and wire, 18 x 36 ft.
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada - Lyndal Osborne and Sherri Chaba: Strathcona County Art Gallery
by Agnieszka Matejko
Last year, environmental protests against the Keystone XL pipeline shook the White House and sent ripples through the presidential election campaign. This ongoing debate put Alberta—a once quiet Canadian province—into the media limelight. Two Alberta artists, Lyndal Osborne and Sherri Chaba, recently mounted an exhibition that addressed a range of environmental issues, including genetic diversity and loss of farmland, while focusing on the tar sands controversy and oil industry discards: tailings ponds. Both artists came to their environmental subject matter through personal experience. Osborne grew up in Australia, where she walked on the beach every day collecting seeds and pebbles. She was, in her words, “a nature girl.” After arriving in Canada and buying some acreage, she grew alarmed about the numerical labels marking agricultural fields visible from her living room window. The numbers indicated genetically modified canola that, as her research showed, didn’t respond to herbicides. More recently, sterile swaths of cookie-cutter houses, marching like invading armies, have surrounded her home. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Lyndal Osborne and Sherri Chaba, “Witness,” 2012.
West Bretton, U.K. - Joan Miró:
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
by Ina Cole
Although Joan Miró was an early pioneer of construction, most of his three-dimensional work was concentrated within the latter part of his life. This exhibition, a collaboration between Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the artist’s family, and foundations, offered a journey through Miró’s fervent imagination, taking viewers from smooth dark bronzes to audacious, brilliantly colored assemblages of found objects, to a throng of theatrical personages set high on plinths. Outside, humanoid forms could be viewed on the lawns, terraces, and peaks, creating a magical, otherworldly experience. Miró held a deep sense of national identity with regard to Catalan affairs, but even when addressing difficult political issues, his work retained an energetic dynamism, celebrating the humble and earth-bound. He cast a wide range of worthless stuff in bronze, believing that people would better understand his work if they could identify with the objects used—cooking pots, food, crushed cans, cutlery, egg cartons, shells, mannequin parts, and misplaced shoes, for instance. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Joan Miró, Personnage, 1970. Bronze, 200 x 120 x 100 cm.
Gongju, South Korea - “Nature, Man, and Sound”: 5th Geumgang Nature Art Biennale
by John K. Grande
The 5th Geumgang Nature Art Biennale, which took “Nature, Man, and Sound” as its theme, was organized by Yatoo, a group that has been in existence since the early 1980s. The mix of work was international, with strong Korean representation, ranging from conceptual to Land Art-ish, purely sculptural, and sound sculptures—all seeking integration within their environment. Some works, like those by Kees Ouwens, Herb Parker, and Alois Leopold Lindenbauer, emphasized sustainability, while others, like Roger Rigorth’s, emphasized poetry. All of the works were produced on site, along the Geumgang River in Gongju. Parker’s Geumgang Dialogue consisted of two structures based on early South Korean habitations. Made of thatched bamboo, the two connected chambers fit into each other, as though they were one structure with a single opening. People could sit in either side and communicate through an hourglass-like opening. German sculptor Thomas May, founder of the Grass Blade Institute, created a kind of hortus conclusus or enclosed garden. People could insert their heads into the hanging structure of Five Person Garden to view the grass growing inside. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Kim En-kyung, Sound of Creatures, 2012. Korean paper, color, masking tape, and wire, 3.5 x 7 meters. from “Nature, Man, and Sound.”

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