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Sculpture cover


June 2012
Vol. 31 No 4

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Washington, DC - Joe Ovelman : Conner Contemporary
by Sarah Tanguy
Clean-cut yet reclaimed, familiar yet odd, tectonic yet intimate—these were some of the contradictions at play in Joe Ovelman’s recent exhibition. Seemingly a far cry from earlier work, these sculptures tackle similar issues of sexual identity and societal norms, but in a more subversive and, ultimately, more tantalizing way. As the title “Coming Home” suggests, Ovelman’s re-entry from New York City into his native Philadelphia gave him space to rethink and recast his mode of expression. Street interventions, dead-pan phrases on post-it notes, and explicit, figurative images of political and gay activism have now become highly designed and finely crafted anthropomorphic objects that rouse the viewer’s body and imagination...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Joe Ovelman, Gettin' a Chubbie, 2010. Wood, plastic, and reclaimed leather, 12 x 5.5 x 2.5 in.
San Francisco - Taraneh Hemami : Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
by Donna Schumacher
Taraneh Hemami’s elegant window installation at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts translated a contentious season of contemporary politics into a dazzling and contemplative work. An enormous radiating star of laser-cut patterning filled the window with the ebullient celebration of the Arab Spring. A neon sign at the center enclosed delicate Arabic script (in yellow) within a ring formed by the repeated English word, “Free” (in blinking blue). Hemami describes this movement as a chant—Free, Free, Free—echoing the message of demonstrators throughout the Middle East. For those who could read it, the Arabic text was legible from the outside looking in; the English text, in reverse, was legible from the inside looking out. The English-speaking world was the implied insider, while the Arab-speaking world remained excluded, outside gazing in...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Taraneh Hemami, Free, 2011. Neon and mirrored and translucent vinyl on glass, 27 x 54 ft.
Washington, DC - Pattie Porter Firestone : Katzen Art Center, American University
by Rima Schulkind
Filling the Katzen Art Center’s “sculpture garden” is no easy task for an artist determined to present a coherent display of work. Intended as a light well to enhance the building, two L-shaped concrete rectangles offer no visual integration unless one stands at their juncture. Pattie Porter Firestone chose to present both wall-hung and freestanding pieces, so her first task was to wed her work with the space in an aesthetically reasonable manner. Turning to a non-visual medium, she invited a musician to collaborate with her in filling the space with sound. It worked brilliantly. Barbara Buchanan’s computer-generated composition pulsated in a wave-like cadence that aurally mimicked the visual elements.Two-dozen, wave-like twists of blue steel mounted on the walls pulled viewers into the space. While affixed solidly, the forms implied piercing and penetration, a movement in and out of their containment, suggesting waves and water. Two of these blue twists, visible from the outside of the museum, supplied a seductive invitation to come in and see more...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Pattie Porter Firestone, House Askew, 2011. Painted steel, 12 x 6 x 6 ft.
Lincoln, Massachusetts - Douglas Paulson and Ward Shelley : DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park
by Marty Carlock
There was a time when “art” meant sculpture and painting, and “craft” meant useful things like pottery and glassmaking. Any such distinction has grown from fuzzy to non-existent. And now Douglas Paulson and Ward Shelley are intent on erasing boundaries between art and carpentry. Their installation Grow or Die was part of the DeCordova’s “Temporary Structures: Performing Architecture in Contemporary Art” exhibition series. In their case, “performing architecture” was especially relevant. During a nine-day performance/construction/campout, they assembled a jerry-built platform extending from the entrance, up the main staircase, across a third-floor lobby, and up another flight of stairs, ending on the fourth floor. They didn’t come down from their aerie for the entire nine-day period ...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Ward Shelley and Douglas Paulson, Grow or Die, 2003/11. Building materials and performance, dimensions variable.
Reno - Linda Fleming and Diana Al-Hadid : Nevada Museum of Art
by Maria Porges
The Nevada Museum of Art, in conjunction with its second triennial Art + Environment conference, filled its galleries with exhibitions that investigated “our relationships with natural, built, and digital environments.” Two of the 14 shows/installations—“Modeling the Universe,” a selection of Linda Fleming’s maquettes, and Water Thief, Diana Al-Hadid’s room-sized invocation of a water clock—addressed the themes of time and flow in the language of sculpture, in part through conceptual shifts in scale within the works themselves. Miniaturized physical renderings of a work of art or architecture, maquettes traditionally precede the creation of the full-scale version. Much larger sculptures have been made from some of the 40 compact forms in Fleming’s show, but the artist considers all of her maquettes to be complete pieces, in and of themselves...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Diana Al-Hadid, Water Thief, 2008-11. Polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, polystyrene, and mixed media, installation view.
Victoria, British Columbia - Greg Snider : Deluge Contemporary Art
by Rachel Rosenfield Lafo
Greg Snider’s eight “Models for the Public Sphere” are absurdist and visionary monuments to human, societal, and governmental follies, abominations, and questionable
policies. Using the term “critical realism” to describe his approach, the Vancouver artist cleverly and humorously turns normality on its head in his meticulously crafted, speculative models. Although none of these proposals have yet been submitted for public art competitions, one hopes that at least some will eventually be realized at full scale. With their motorized parts and DIY know-how, these fictional conceptions provide fodder for further reflection on a variety of topical issues...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Greg Snider, Project for a Public Fountain, 2012. Mixed media, 18 x 24 x 24 in.
Helsinki - Terike Haapoja : Amos Anderson Art Museum
by John Gayer
Entropy, mazes, memory, and zones of electromagnetic radiation residing just beyond the visible spectrum play an important role in the work of Terike Haapoja. Investigating mortality, as well as themes of co-existence and communication between individuals, she harnesses media technologies and mobilizes various kinds of expert assistants to develop works that bridge nature and technology, science and art. In Edge of the World (2011), she has partnered with a scientist, sound designer, engineer, animator, and 3D modelling specialist to create a labyrinthine installation that must be navigated in the dark, one visitor at a time. A wall-mounted monitor showing Haapoja’s “Field of View” series (2011) forms an introduction to the labyrinth. An essentially colorless picture, this excerpt depicts a wooded landscape in stark relief and fuels expectations of what will be seen inside...see the entire review in the print version of June's Sculpture magazine.

Terike Haapoja, Edge of the World, 2011. Mixed-media, computerized installation.

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