International Sculpture Center
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Sculpture cover




June 2015
Vol. 34 No. 5

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Washington, DC: Bernardi Roig - The Phillips Collection
by Aneta Georgievska-Shine
An Illuminated Head for Blinky P. (The Gun) (detail), 2010.The latest exhibition in the “Inter­sections” series at the Phillips Collection featured Bernardi Roig—one of the most intriguing artists working in Spain at present. In the spirit of the overall series, curator Vesela Sretenovic invited him to engage the museum both as an institution and as the former home of two remarkable art collectors, Duncan and Marjorie Phillips. This collaboration resulted in a smart, complex, and self-consciously fluid intervention that defied easy classification. Roig is often described as a sculptor, a label that he finds misleading, insisting that he creates pictorial tableaux or environments. Most of these tableaux involve life-size figures cast from pointedly “real,” imperfect human beings. Some stand upright; others are seated, slouched, prostrate, or suspended in the air...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Bernardi Roig, An Illuminated Head for Blinky P. (The Gun) (detail), 2010.
Los Angeles: Mie Olise - Samuel Freeman Gallery
by Kathleen Whitney
installation view of “Noplacia,” 2014.
“Noplacia,” the title of Danish artist Mie Olise’s recent exhibition, is taken from the opening line of the poem that introduces Thomas More’s Utopia (1516). More invented both word and concept, basing his visualization of a perfect society on Plato’s Republic. Olise’s Noplacia, a locale distinguished by abandoned, dys­topian, and desolated architectural spaces, opposes this Republic. Her structures embody the idea of “transrealism,” a literary form related to science fiction and based on the idea that reality is either constructed or nonexistent. Working with both organic and geometric forms, Olise blends architecture, art, and psychology. Her objects are provisional, reducing the concept of sculpture to a few minimal precepts. The results resemble temporary structures that have inexplicably fallen in on themselves, becoming non-things in non-spaces...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Mie Olise, installation view of “Noplacia,” 2014.
Santa Monica: Patrick Nickell - Rosamund Felsen Gallery
by Kathleen Whitney
Anchors Aweigh, 2014.
If Patrick Nickell were a writer, his arena would be neither poetry nor prose, but stream-of-consciousness. Using a vocabulary of wire, plaster, and paint, he realizes a hybrid, chimerical territory consisting of partly fictional, partly poetic, quasi-realist objects made credible through their irregular, oddly elegant surfaces and idiosyncratic imagery. Nickell’s objects, though they share the generalized traits of Modernist abstraction, contain so extensive a range of meanings that they can’t be reduced to such a clear-cut category. They establish a cartoony collaboration between the abstract and the figurative, their abject forms bearing close resemblance to human figures, a nimals, and plants. The majority of them are resolutely anti-decorative, floppy, and expressive, all seemingly caught mid-gesture. Nickell’s recent show was divided into two rooms...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Patrick Nickell, Anchors Aweigh, 2014.
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Rebecca Horn - Harvard Art Museums
by Suzanne Volmer
Rebecca Horn, Finger Gloves, 1972. Rebecca Horn’s Flying Books under Black Rain Painting, a commissioned, performance-based installation at the Prescott Street entrance of the recently re-branded Harvard Art Museums, is visible from the street, as is Ai Weiwei’s multimedia installation 258 Fake. Though mechanically produced, Horn’s work has a flow that contrasts with Ai’s grid of video monitors on the opposite wall. The juxtaposition of their approaches establishes an East/ West techie prelude to the integrated museums. (Harvard Art Museums is made up of the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum; their architectural re-organ­ization under one roof, designed by Renzo Piano, allows for a three-in-one sensibility in which situational flow can create new associations across time periods and geographical locations...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Rebecca Horn, Finger Gloves, 1972.
New Windsor, New York: Zhang Huan - Storm King Art Center
by Faheem Haider
Zhang Huan, Three Legged Buddha, 2007.Zhang Huan’s multi-disciplinary blockbuster show at Storm King offered a material exercise in storytelling that turned on his biography and laid out his views on Chinese tradition, religion, and politics. Featuring delicate drawings, installations, photographs, detrital ash sculptures, and large-scale outdoor works, “Evoking Tradition” tread softly inside, before exploding onto the lush grounds touched by falling autumn leaves—the environment only slightly less evocative than Zhang’s over-life-size, gold-leafed likeness, suspended vertically as the clapper of a monumental devotional bell. Indoor videos, drawings, maquettes, photographs, and small sculptures introduced the range of Zhang’s practice and documented the making of Three Legged Buddha, a massive work in hammered copper, at once iconic and playful, gigantic and self-regarding. Installed a field or two away...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Zhang Huan, Three Legged Buddha, 2007.
New York: Brenda Garand - Lesley Heller Workspace
by Jan Garden Castro
 Brenda Garand, Rue, 2014. Brenda Garand’s sculpture series “Northern Passage” reflects on the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Irene (2011), including the destruction of her Vermont studio on the White River. Garand’s notions of nature and culture evoke her French Canadian, Abenaki, and British heritages. She employs materials associated with construction, hunting, and fishing—including roofing paper, wire, and steel, fish hooks and lures, and porcupine quills—and reinforces those allusions through her titles: for example, Lac-Mégantic (lac meaning “lake” and mégantic meaning “many fish” in Abenaki). Kamouraska, an Algonquin word for “where the bulrushes grow,” refers to a town on the St. Lawrence River in Gaspé, Québec, known for its windy, turbulent weather. Kamouraska Wind (2014), an airborne work made of steel, roofing paper, wool, and silk, appears fragile...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Brenda Garand, Rue, 2014.
New York: Zhang Dali - Klein Sun Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
Zhang Dali, installation view of “Square,” 2014. For decades now, Beijing-based Zhang Dali has been making art that challenges China’s status quo, which (most of the Chinese art world would agree) needs to be challenged. His graffiti and cut-out outlines of his head in the ruins of Beijing buildings—destroyed to make room for new architecture—were signs of humanity in an otherwise dehumanized context. Such work has played an important role in the development of contemporary art in China, and Zhang is recognized as having the integrity of independence—a claim not so many Chinese artists can make anymore, caught as they are in the mesh of the bubble economy. “Square,” Zhang’s recent New York show, confronted viewers with a poetic vision of Tiananmen Square, a place designed to promote unity...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Zhang Dali, installation view of “Square,” 2014.
Cincinnati: Todd Slaughter - Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery
by Jane Durrell
Todd Slaughter, installation view with (left) Walden Woods, 2012, and (right) Talk­ing Turkeys, 2014.At first glance, “Todd Slaughter: American Primitives” might have seemed designed to amuse and delight, but that’s too easy. Slaughter wants people looking at his work to think. Walden Woods (2012) established the questioning tone immediately. What purports to be a grove of trees, their striped trunks unaccountably severed from the ground, hovers some inches above the floor. An unobtrusive opening invites entry, and a lawn chair striped in matching colors and tucked into a corner suggests relaxation. Once “inside” the grove, its shiny plastic fabric supported by phenolic plastic ribs, the questing visitor cannot help feeling isolated. And there, Slaughter established the beginnings of his argument. It is his contention that Henry David Thoreau’s ideas of individualism, civil disobedience, and tax resistance, fashioned while living alone...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Todd Slaughter, installation view with (left) Walden Woods, 2012, and (right) Talking Turkeys, 2014.
San Antonio: Kate Ritson - Southwest School of Art
by Dan R. Goddard
Kate Ritson, installation view of “Corona,” 2014.Kate Ritson, a professor of art at San Antonio’s Trinity University, has unveiled a new body of work after a difficult decade spent caring for aging parents and dealing with her own health issues. There’s always been a strong correlation between her body and her art. In the past, she’s shown large-scale, totemic wood sculptures, shaped with power tools, chainsaws, and routers out of cedar beams and salvaged railroad timber. Often elaborately carved or branded to create skin-like patterns or tattoos, these elegantly rugged works are usually burned and blackened. Ritson’s recent show, “Corona,” featured new, circular forms that not only embraced experimental materials such as carbon fiber, but also brought color into her work for the first time. The fiery red of a hot kiln...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Kate Ritson, installation view of “Corona,” 2014.
Seattle: “Your Feast Has Ended: Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Nicholas Galanin, and Nep Sidhu” - Frye Art Museum
by Matthew Kangas
Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Americana (Resurgence of the Nazi Youth Haircut), 2014.“Your Feast Has Ended” brought together three young sculptors who share cross-disciplinary approaches to tribal identity, gender, and the social and political status of minorities. Co-curators Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker and Scott Lawrimore gave the artists generous latitude: each piece was accompanied by a lengthy, detailed explanation, often accusatory, hectoring, and contradictory. Yes, art can be paradoxical and irritatingly apposite to contemporary events, but usually the work speaks for itself, without such stentorian warnings. For viewers who chose to disregard the curatorial superstructure, all three artists acquitted themselves admirably. Nicholas Galanin makes assemblages of found objects and manipulated readymades that have been called “post-human.” Inert (2009) abruptly sutures a stuffed wolf’s head and torso to a skinned pelt throw rug, all laid on the floor...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Americana (Resurgence of the Nazi Youth Haircut), 2014.
Buenos Aires: Marcela Cabutti - Del Infinito Arte
by María Carolina Baulo
Marcela Cabutti, Arco-columnas enamoradas, 2014.The artist’s universe unfolds through various languages. Often the choice is unconscious; other times, it requires conscious specificity. Marcela Cabutti bases her work in architecture. Drawing on the lessons of architects Amancio Williams and Eladio Dieste—especially the concepts of utopia and construction—Cabutti emphasized the figure of Louis Kahn in her recent exhibition, “The confirmation of forms.” The connection of materiality to emotion is essential in her work: ideas bond with practice, resulting in works that become almost transcendent. Communication between the different parts echoes through the entire work. Opposites manifest through contrast but also find commonality: the opacity and roughness of brick combine with the brightness of polished crystal, and despite their differences, both need minerals, water, air, earth, and fire to exist...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Marcela Cabutti, Arco-columnas enamoradas, 2014.
Tel Aviv: Gabriel Klasmer - Tel Aviv Museum of Art
by Angela Levine
Shira Klasmer and Gabriel Klasmer, Out of Thin Air, 2012.Gabriel Klasmer is primarily identified with the scores of paintings that he has produced over the last three decades while living and working in London and Jerusalem. Not unexpectedly, his recent retrospective offered a large selection of these works, from theatrical canvases of decaying civilizations to paintings in which color becomes monochromatic and images are reduced to flickering forms. Klasmer then went on to produce abstract-geometric images by means of a low-tech painting machine that he invented. With this tool, which consists of a rail-mounted brush that delivers paint in vertical or horizontal lines, painting, for Klasmer, became a mechanical process, with extensively reduced manual participation. Hence, the show’s title—“Zero One.” Despite this emphasis, it was satisfying to note the prominent position...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Shira Klasmer and Gabriel Klasmer, Out of Thin Air, 2012.
Rome: Giuliano Vangi - Museo Macro-Testaccio
by Laura Tansini
Giuliano Vangi, Veio (detail), 2010.Curator Gabriele Simongini correctly describes Giuliano Vangi’s work as “a journey to the heart of humankind and the destiny of plastic form.” Vangi leaves us no escape: facing his work, we confront ourselves and our worst instincts, forced to ask ourselves questions to which most people today seem indifferent. Vangi has stood up to these immortal, uncomfortable questions, and he has transformed them into sculpture, forms in continual tension turned toward eternity. In Vangi’s work, we feel the centrality of human solitude (Uomo che si riflette nell’acqua); experience moments of relief and meditation before we succumb to aggression, violence, and abuse of power (Ares and Il Vincitore); and grapple with the real (C’era una volta). Once upon a time conjures a fairy tale repeating itself through the centuries...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Giuliano Vangi, Veio (detail), 2010.
Tokyo: Lee Mingwei - Mori Art Museum
by Kazuko Nakane
Lee Mingwei, The Moving Garden, 2009/2014. If you have patience with the lofty, yet somehow naïve, intentions of Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei, you’ll find that somehow he gets to the truth of contemporary society. His thoughtful, hypnotic, yet quiet voice in his videos explains the ideas behind each of his participatory projects. His roots in Taiwan go deep: a family photo album, beginning with his great-grandfather and his grandparents (who attended university in Japan), was displayed in the show. In California, he studied with Suzanne Lacy. His work freely crosses traditional boundaries of gender. Since receiving his MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1997, he’s been mainly based in New York. His works have been exhibited across the world since 2005. In The Mending Project (2009/2014), spools of brightly colored threads spread over...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Lee Mingwei, The Moving Garden, 2009/2014.

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