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Sculpture cover



May 2014
Vol. 33 No. 4

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York - Lynda Benglis : Cheim & Read
by Jonathan Goodman
Lynda Benglis’s terrific show of table-top clay sculptures reminded us, yet again, that the New York School’s achievements can be furthered in the hands of a top-notch artist. Benglis, who has studios all over the world, made these works in New Mexico, but she remains a quintessential New Yorker. Her work maintains an erotically charged, assertive bravado, and these smallish sculptures, resting on white plinths, are formally exuberant—made more so by the freewheeling, painterly treatment of their surfaces. The combination of uninhibited energy and forceful but also disciplined handling of the clay prompts enthusiasm and delight and perhaps a touch of regret that such work is increasingly difficult to find. But Benglis is so enthusiastic in her work that viewers cannot help but feel optimistic that someone still feels excited about clay sculpture. She comes across as a spontaneous artist whose works in this show display not only earthy, rhythmic form, but also a driving vigor representative of Ab-Ex achievements in painting. It is worth noting that Benglis’s accomplishments in clay sculpture came relatively late in her career, starting in the early 1990s...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Lynda Benglis, Chitimacha, 2013. Glazed ceramic, 18.5 x 28 x 12 in
San Francisco - Fujiko Nakaya: Exploratorium
by Donna Schumacher
For the grand opening of the Explor­a­torium’s new home on the piers of San Francisco Bay, Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya created Fog Sculpture #72494—also titled Fog Bridge—a temporary installation created from a material synonymous with this city by the Bay. The appropriately named work, which stretched along the 150-foot-long pedestrian bridge connecting Piers 15 and 17, directly outside the Exploratorium, conjured a delightful explosion of fog by blasting water through 800 nozzles positioned on both sides of the walkway. In countless film noir scenes, fog has a mystical quality that romanticizes the mundane, heightens the dramatic, and instills mystery and wonder into everything it surrounds. But in real life, San Francisco’s early morning fog elicits a nonchalant and somewhat resigned acceptance by residents, while tourists shiver and mumble something profane about “sunny warm California” as they don newly purchased sweatshirts. Fog Bridge forced viewers to stop and pause for a moment and reconsider this seemingly relentless summer weather pattern, igniting the romantic in us all...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Bridge, 2013. 832 nozzles, 4 high-pressure pumps, 8 feeder water lines, anemometer, and Max program, 150 ft.
Washington D.C.- Sam Scharf: Flashpoint Gallery and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library
by Laura Roulet
In Sam Scharf’s two-part exhibition “Nothing is the Same,” two deconstructed telescopes, encased in soft, transparent rubber, were mounted in the windows of two separate buildings and trained on each other, inviting the curious to make a visual connection across G Street NW. The title can be taken to refer to Scharf’s consistently inconsistent approach to materials. Each object in this bifur­cated show was singular in appearance and medium.
Growth seemingly erupted from the floor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The irregularly shaped, fractured surfaces of its drywall panels were covered in a vinyl photo print that matched the lobby’s terrazzo floor. The construction—similar in size to a garden shed, featured gaps that allowed viewers to peer into the chaotic structure of the interior, lit by a single lamp. These echoes of the library’s marble floor and fluorescent lights showed Scharf’s strategic connection between his sculpture and the sleek interior of the Mies van der Rohe-designed space....see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.
Sam Scharf, Artworker, 2013. Mason twine on steel mesh, 120 x 27 in.
Concord, Massachusetts - Michio Ihara: Concord Art Association
by Marty Carlock
The usual downside of minimal art is that, after the initial impact, there’s very little to hold one’s visual attention. Michio Ihara confounds that flaw. Though his work appears simple and disciplined—and minimal—even his static pieces offer a great deal to engage the eye and the intellect. Over a four-decade-long career, the Paris-born Japanese-American has married aesthetics, engineering, mathematical design, and beautiful materials in works installed all over the globe. Ihara’s recent retrospective, “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” sampled this vast oeuvre. As part of the show, Concord Art provided a bus tour around the Boston area to visit five of the sculptor’s larger works, some public, some private. Although Ihara’s touch is readily recognizable, it is impossible to nail down one adjective that characterizes his work. Love and respect for his materials is paramount. Some of the work is kinetic, some is not. Huge public pieces for atria and plazas are as meticulously engineered as one-foot-square wall pieces. Yet there is something more, an unerring eye, an infallible sense of the relationship of components. ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.


Michio Ihara, Wind Cubes, 2005. Stainless steel, 15 x 12.5 x 12 ft.
Garrison, New York - Lorrie Fredette: The Riverside Galleries at Garrison Art Center
by Faheem Haider
Lorrie Fredette, a leading installation artist and sculptor working in the Hudson Valley, is down with disease—or, at least, its representation. Her recent site-specific installation Implementation of Adaptation consists of a structured, mosquito egg-like raft of wax-made pandemics, abstracted, microbial, moist, and poised for dissemination. Through this installation, Fredette offers an evasive account of the epidemiology of mosquito-borne diseases, now more frequent and possibly more devastating in our wet and warming Earth. Made out of beeswax and resin filling in wood and steel armatures, neutral looking and suspended about three feet or
so off the floor, the objects hang together nigh-uniformly like an airborne flotilla now resting, now set to sail off and plague. ..see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Lorrie Fredette, Implementation of Adaptation, 2013. Beeswax, tree resin, muslin, brass, nylon line, steel, and wood, 6.08 x 36 x 12 ft.
New York - Emil Lukas: Sperone Westwater
by Jan Garden Castro
Something mysterious, cosmic, and deep radiates from Emil Lukas’s thread compositions. At times, these works (as large as 78 by 96 inches) appear to be flat. From a distance, they have auras—as though we are witnessing space in slow motion and seeing into and through vast distances. Close up, we think we can see the mechanics—thousands of threads of different colors pulled taut at opposite sides over a rectangular box of wood. Closer inspection, however, reveals that there is no discernable pattern; the colors cross each other in all directions. How did the artist invent this way of working? How does he achieve ethereal effects? How long does this obsessive way of composing take? Even though Lukas calls his compositions “paintings,” they consist of three-inch-deep wooden boxes painted white inside...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.


Emil Lukas, Heavy Gas, 2013. Thread over wood frame with nails, 16 x 14 x 3.5 in.
Cincinnati - Ana England and Steven Finke: Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery
by Jane Durrell
“Imminence,” a joint exhibition of work by Ana England and Steven Finke, dealt with those certainties we spend much of our lives hoping are not imminent. The resulting work contemplated the beauty inherent in the cycle of life and death. England and Finke, who are husband and wife, collaborated on the entry piece to the show. Bier with Shroud stood 13 feet high in the stairwell leading to the lower-level galleries, where their individual shows appeared. Sup­ported by four handsomely curved metal legs, an airy suggestion of a casket was covered by a drapery made from the hair of England and her sisters. Only something as insubstantial as a swallow could be carried to its grave in this elegant equipage, but its symbolism is rich. Finke, whose work occupied the west gallery, is an artist who understands curves and uses them to advantage. In Ocular Sclera, hung from the ceiling at eye level, one not only saw the handsome metal disk but looked through its open center at the surprising sight of a partial skeleton of a leaping dog mounted in its own slim metal circle. Looking the other way through Ocular Sclera revealed Bier...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Ana England and Steven Finke, Bier with Shroud, 2013. Stainless steel, bronze, and human hair, 156 x 80 x 54 in.
Pittsburgh - “Detroit: Artists in Residence:” Mattress Factory
by Elaine A. King
After visiting Detroit in fall 2012, Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk, co-curators of “Detroit: Artists in Residence,” recognized a kinship between what artists were doing there and the Mattress Fac­tory’s mission to encourage experimentation and risk-taking. This exhibition, featuring the results of a two-city collaboration, was an appropriate choice to celebrate the 35th anniversary of an institution whose founders pioneered Pittsburgh’s North Side when it was segregated and rampant with criminal and drug activity. Detroit and Pittsburgh are part of the same dying industrial fabric, though the latter has discovered a way to survive despite the loss of its steel industry. The exhibition was also a timely counter-measure to all of the bad news coming from Detroit, the once successful capitol of the auto industry now reduced to bankruptcy and a symbol of economic gloom. A booming metropolis in 1950, with nearly two million people, today Detroit has shrunk to a population of less than 700,000....see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Scott Hocking, Coronal Mass Ejection, 2013. Fiberglass, wood, steel, iron, rust, slag, coke, dirt, stone, textiles, lamps, and mixed media, installation view.
York, Pennsylvania - Andi Steele and Carol Prusa: York College of Pennsylvania
by Leslie Kaufman
Andi Steele’s Emanate, an ephemeral installation of taut monofilament lines, transformed space into shimmering reflections and hovering shadows. Carol Prusa’s “Liminal Worlds,” a group of highly detailed acrylic hemispheres that clung tightly to the walls, also asserted an influence on their surroundings, though their effect was more subtle. By choosing to situate the works of two such seemingly different artists in adjacent galleries, York College Gallery director Matthew Clay-Robison created a dynamic energy that revealed surprising similarities of vision. Walking into Emanate engaged our sense of spatial perception. It felt disorienting, even dizzying. There was no solid point, just the vision of gently curving, diaphanous green lines. But the curves were an illusion, just like the color. The clear monofilament was strung in grids across an octagonal room, creating flat planes that angled and intersected in computer-derived patterns....see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Andi Steele, Emanate, 2013. Monofilament, 119 sq. ft.
Memphis - Terri Phillips: TOPS Gallery
by Todd M. Richardson
The pairing of a live bottom-feeder with bursts of natural sunlight reflected from above was just one example of the paradoxes inherent in both Terri Phillips’s installation Chapel of Yes and its unique setting. Mississippi River catfish are a nocturnal, prehistoric-looking species that scour the muddy river substrate for morsels to feed on, often organisms long dead. Unlike most fish, they sink rather than float because of their weighty bone structure. The catfish, then, seems an appropriate mascot for an installation and gallery space searching for meaning and transcendence at the bottom. TOPS, which opened in 2012, is located in the basement of a historic building in downtown Mem­phis, just one block from the Mis­­sis­sippi River. To find the space, visitors wander down rickety wooden steps and through a storage basement stocked full of salvage—industrial equipment, printshop materials, and old furniture—forgotten relics waiting for repurposing. At the farthest, and lowest, end of the building, a former coal storage room has been transformed into a space for the display of art...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Terri Phillips, Chapel of Yes, 2013. Wood, water, sand, catfish, silver leaf, paint, and paraffin wax, dimensions variable. .
Seattle - Joseph McDonnell: Abmeyer + Wood
by Matthew Kangas
Joseph McDonnell is a widely exhibited and commissioned Modernist sculptor who moved to Seattle in 1998 from New York. “From Amulet to Monument,” his recent survey exhibition, covered work from 1971 to the present, concentrating on smaller-scale pieces, maquettes, pedestal sculptures, and two glass chandeliers. Executed mostly in fabricated bronze or stainless steel, the 21 objects provided an opportunity for viewers to trace the evolution of his work before and after his studies at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence and at the Harvard School of Design, where he briefly studied architecture. The exhibition was supported by an earlier publication with essays by dealer Andre Emmerich, sculpture photographer David Finn, and critic Donald Kuspit. They set McDon­nell in a mid-century modern tradition that includes David Smith, Anthony Caro, George Sugarman, and Frank Stella, all of whose works are reflected in McDonnell’s...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Joseph McDonnell, Hurricane Gates, 2012. Bronze with wood base, 10 x 27 x 5.5 in.
London- Emma Hart: Camden Arts Centre
by Jonathan R. Jones
Emma Hart’s Dirty Looks is a kinky office nightmare. Inspired by her time working in a call center, her installation presents a garish Kafka-esque environment in which photocopiers spit out to-do lists and glossy eroticized images of the natural world, some of which are fashioned into a phallic, bucket-headed totem. Filing cabinets, clipboards, and even a water cooler are covered in creepy ceramic tongues. These wet-look, fleshy creations slop, poke, and slither their way through the whole installation, holding up sheets of ceramic “paper,” dangling from canteen trays, and even standing in for the spout of a water jug. The insistence on the tongue calls to mind Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of “grotesque realism,” which has often been pressed into the service of art criticism. Tongues occupy a liminal space. They are at a point of entry to and exit from the body—the mouth an anxious orifice because it questions what is inside and what is outside, destabilizing our sense of self and non-self. One of the installation’s video elements features a series of gaping-mouthed gargoyles in a surreal parody of a police line-up: “No, not that one; no, definitely not,” intones a bored voice....see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Emma Hart, Dirty Looks, 2013. Ceramic and mixed media, 2 views of installation.
Istanbul - Kalliopi Lemos: Ioakimion Greek High School for Girls
by Michel Oren
We arrived breathless after several flights of ruinous brick stairs to find— in an abandoned Greek school for girls overlooking Istanbul’s Golden Horn—an installation of hybrid women/animal sculptures that left us…breathless. Mutilated, human-size figures appeared against the peeling blue paint of halls and classrooms, accompanied by a soundtrack of girls chattering and singing, just as they might have done when school was in session. White pages on the desks bore baleful stories of women’s abuse—rapes, beatings, traffickings. A young woman escorting me gasped and said, “Incredible.” The figures, made from steel filings mixed with resin and sand, then sandblasted and oxidized, appeared dark and granulated, but this surface roughness was countered by sinuousness. Two figures, Deer on Altar and Hen with Two Faces, looked out vacantly at eye level; Hen on Crutches and Mermaid Coming out of a Well were headless; Hanging Hare was suspended by a noose; Goat and Memory were missing body parts....see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Kalliopi Lemos, Goat, 2013, 184 x 48 x 213.7 cm. All made of steel filings, fiberglass, and mild steel.
 
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