International Sculpture Center
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Sculpture cover


April 2016
Vol. 35 No. 2

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Miami: Robert Thiele - MDC Museum of Art + Design
by Erica Ando
Robert Theiele Untitled Robert Thiele, who splits his time between Miami and Brooklyn, has been making art since the mid-1960s. Simultaneously sculptural and painterly, obfuscating and revealing, his works, which range from small, wall-mounted pieces to tall, imposing sculptures, abound with paradoxes. “Untitled (3 for 8),” a selection of works from the early 1980s to the present, revealed Thiele’s dialectics — intimacy/monumentality, surface/depth, dependence/autonomy, old/new — to be part of the same continuum. The installation of the works contributed to this revelation. Occupying several symmetrically arranged galleries, the show could be entered through two separate spaces. In each of them, 10 small sculptures hung on a wall in a neat line. Some shared characteristics emerged from these painted wood pieces: faintly irregular, elliptical, and anthropomorphic shapes that hint at faces and figures, a neutral palette, holes that break the surface, and a careful yet imperfect application of paint that alters our perception of the forms and gives them a weathered appearance. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Robert Thiele, Untitled (3 for 8).
Los Angeles: Ricky Swallow - David Kordansky Gallery
by Kathleen Whitney
Ricky Swallow Horoscrope 4 Ricky Swallow’s work alludes to the real while posing as abstraction. As per the title of his recent exhibition, “Skews,” his intimately scaled bronzes “skew” reality so that their material representation performs a different version of factuality. Inter­acting with them requires putting into play something the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan referred to as “looking awry.” When you confront these objects directly, objectively, you see a collection of mis-­­ matched, somewhat crudely assembled elements drawn from daily life. But if you look at them from the standpoint of what Lacan considered to be an “interested” or “desiring” view, you see them from a distorted but engaged angle; by sneaking up on them visually, you see invention and re-contextualization. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Ricky Swallow, Horoscope #4, 2015. Patinated bronze, 6.75 x 7 x 1.5 ft.
Washington, DC: Anthony Cervino - Flashpoint Gallery
by Michael Dax Iacovone
Anthony Cervino Folie a deux Anthony Cervino’s “Ejecta” exhibition combined well-crafted sculptures with a pointed narrative and a book of insightful conversations between artist and curator. The role of the curator is to balance objective decision-making distance and intimate knowledge of the work. In its best form, the relationship between artist and curator works as a true co-dependency, one crutch holding the other up, but at its worst, it becomes a distraction obfuscating the artist’s intent. This is why Cervino’s decision to have his wife, Shannon Egan, curate his show is so curious and also so good. One of the more compelling pieces in the show, Folie à deux, features two aging wooden desks (belonging to the artist’s and curator’s parents), one mid-century modern and the other a humble study desk, which are split and rejoined down the middle. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Anthony Cervino, Folie a deux, 2015. Two desks, 56 x 24 x 30 in.
Washington, DC: Mary Shaffer - Katzen Arts Center, American University
by Laura Roulet
Leigh Hall, Blue Folds, Yellow Light, Folded Orange Recognized as a pioneer in the Amer­ican Studio Glass Movement during the 1970s and honored as a Visionary by the Museum of Arts and Design, like many women of her generation, Mary Shaffer has followed a curvilinear career and life path. Born in South Carolina, she grew up in Central America and Europe, studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, and moved many times with her family before establishing her current base camps in Taos, New Mexico, and Marfa, Texas. With the exhibition “Reflections and Contradictions: Five Decades,” she circles back to one of those residences: Washington, DC. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Leigh Hall, Blue Folds, Yellow Light, Folded Orange, 2014. Slumped glass and metal.
24 x 24 x 9 in, 24 x 24 x 9 in, 24 x 25 x 9 in.
Fort Myers, Florida: Wayne White - Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Florida Southwestern State College
by John Loscuito
Wayne White Here Comes Mr. Know-It-All Wayne White’s recent exhibition opened with a puppet performance by the artist that paid homage to the gallery’s namesake. Best known for his Emmy Award-winning sets and puppets for “Pee-Wee’s Play­house,” White has had a foot in the art world since the beginning of his career. Here, he brought the playful gestures of a comedian and prankster into the gallery, transforming it into an immersive space. Viewers were greeted by a logo painted on the wall outside the space—the Florida Southwestern college mascot morphed into White’s image. The subversive attitude continued inside, where enlarged abstract “doodles” covered the walls from floor to ceiling. These became the backdrop for White’s word-art paintings, which in turn became the environment for the Big Bob puppet sculpture and Big Bob’s “performance painting.”  The word-art paintings are comedic puzzles that White creates by painting dramatic phrases on second-hand, framed prints. Remin­iscent of the Hollywood sign, these works function as imagined sculptures set in landscapes and still-lifes. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Wayne White, Here Comes Mr. Know-It-All, 2015.
Atlanta: Peter Bahouth - Hagedorn Foundation Gallery
by Sally Hansell
Peter Bahouth Birth of a Red Planet Bathed in red light and filled with space-themed music, Peter Bahouth’s installation Birth of a Red Planet offered an otherworldly environment that blended past and present, boyish wonder and adult concern for planetary ills. Dioramas, stereoscopic images, viewing stands, archival prints, and relics from Bahouth’s childhood toy collection told the story of a young boy who builds a spaceship and flees earth in search of a better life. Bahouth, a stereoscopic photographer, worked as a prominent environmental activist before turning his attention to creating three-dimensional illusions of space. He served, sequentially, as executive director of Greenpeace USA, the Turner Foun­dation Inc., and the U.S. Climate Action Network. For the past 15 years, he has pursued his interest in the history of stereoscopic photography (a medium that dates to the 1830s), collecting thousands of images. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Peter Bahouth, Birth of A Red Planet #3--Blastoff! Just in Time.
Jersey City, New Jersey: Nancy Cohen - Visual Arts Gallery, New Jersey City University
by Jonathan Goodman
Nancy Cohen Hackensack Dreaming Hackensack Dreaming, Nancy Cohen’s powerful, affecting installation, attempted to salvage a bit of nature from the depredations of manmade interventions at Mill Creek Marsh near the Hackensack River. Cohen characterizes the site as among the ugliest in the state, a concrete jungle that leads nowhere. At the same time, life persists—specifically in the stumps of a former cedar forest, which provide an unlikely home for plants and birds. The confluence of these two environments—one manmade and dominant and the other natural and determined to survive—is key to Cohen’s work. She uses all manner of materials—handmade paper, glass, and rubber—to characterize the tragic, but persevering voice of nature. As Christina Catanese points out in her catalogue essay, “Our world is giving rise to more and more of these novel ecologies.” Cohen’s version may help us to appreciate at least one of them in its disabled splendor. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Nancy Cohen, Hackensack Dreaming, 2014-2015. Glass, handmade paper, rubber, wire, and monofilament, approx. 20 x 30 x 11 ft.
Garrison, New York: Susan Knight and Suzan Shutan - Garrison Art Center
by Amy Lipton
Susan Shutan River that Flows Two Ways Suzan Shutan and Susan Knight met 20 years ago when Shutan was a fellow at the Bemis Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska. They admired each other’s work and discovered a mutual interest in patterns of weather, land, and scientific behavior related to the natural world. In 2011, they decided to join forces and develop an exhibition with the goal of providing viewers with artworks that inform, educate, and inspire interdisciplinary communication, community participation, and scientific and artistic literacy. Their collaborative exhibition, “Watered Down: Issues That Run Two Ways,” included various suspended and freestanding sculptural components. At first glance, the work has a festive, light-hearted, pop quality. The sculptures, which are made of industrial and pedestrian materials such as plastic drinking straws, tar paper (used for roofing), pom-poms, and Tyvek, filled the space with an airy touch, making use of walls, ceiling, and floor. Closer inspection, however, revealed that these seemingly fanciful works have an underlying message of grave intent. Knight and Shutan want viewers to gain insight into the environmental challenges raised by multiple water uses in the Hudson River Valley. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Susan Shutan, River that Flows Two Ways, 2015. Roofing Paper, 8 x 3 x .25 ft.
New York: Julia Bland - On Stellar Rays
by Joyce Beckenstein
Julia Bland Winter Keep an eye on Julia Bland. Her exhibition, “If You Want to Be Free,” featured six large “tapestries” that are (more accurately stated) multimedia, textile-based constructions. Each one unfolds an intricate weave of complex dualities: simple geometric elements evolve into variegated com­­- positions of seemingly mismatched swaths of material; a reverence for the traditions of drawing, painting, weaving, sewing, and sculpture gently shifts to allow irreverent trespasses across formal borders. Bland’s search for new approaches to abstraction has led her to places such as Morocco where, in 2008, she studied Islamic art while on a Rhode Island School of Design fellowship. There, she found meandering arabesques ubiquitously commandeering surfaces as diverse as mosaic floor tiles and intricately carved architectural façades—a smorgasbord of possibilities that clearly emboldened her to meander through art with an abandon of her own. . ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Julia Bland, Winter, 2015. Linen, wool, canvas, velvet, ink, bleach, and oil paint, 87 x 85 x 3 in.
Providence, Rhode Island: Martin Boyce - RISD Museum
by Marty Carlock
Martin Boyce When Now Is Night Four small photographs (Interiors, 1992) served as a motif for Martin Boyce’s recent survey exhibition. Seen in isolation, these grainy colored stills excerpted from the 1985 crime thriller Jagged Edge, are unremarkable; but as a mood-inducing setting for eerie suspense, they become full of foreboding. “When Now Is Night” was a paean to paranoia, a meditation on the menace of ordinary things. Boyce is an aficionado of film noir and of 1970s horror films, as well as the genres they have spawned. His work rests on an underlying theme of unease about the disparity between clean-lined 20th-century design and the uncertain reality of contemporary cities and contemporary life. A gallery with three walls papered in white-on-black grids—one grid of repetitive parallelograms, a fainter one behind it of chaotic geometric shapes—replicated the oppressive sameness of the urban environment. Despite the largeness of the almost-empty space, the walls closed in. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Martin Boyce, When Now is Night, 2002. Flourescent light, plywood, powder-coated and lacquered MDF, and altered Series 7 Jacobsen chair parts, dimensions variable.
Rutland, Vermont: Denis Versweyveld - Castleton Downtown Gallery
by B. Amore
Denis Versweyveld Four Houses on a Plinth Denis Versweyveld’s sculptures and drawings view familiar household objects and minimal houses through a meditative lens. Each form, executed in plaster, lath, and cast concrete, is pared down to its essence. Signs of this process, like fine etching lines, remain in the exquisite surfaces. The forms are either miniaturized or human scale, portraits of what we live with every day: a cup, a pitcher, a bowl. The sense of the maker’s hand is ever-present in the dialectic between materiality and refinement, texture and reductive form. Some of the subjects look as if they had stepped out of a Morandi still-life, now claiming existence in three dimensions. The title of the show, “A Sense of Place,” refers to how we define the spaces in which we live. Versweyveld believes that awareness of our lived environment is a key to understanding the depth of meaning offered by the familiar. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Denis Versweyveld, Four Houses on a Plinth, 2012. Concrete, lath, and plaster, 44.5 x 11.5 x 9 in.
Mexico City: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer - Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)
by María Minera
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Surface Tension Art has borrowed from science since the beginning: we need only recall the adoption of linear perspective in the Renaissance or the rise of photography. The bond between artistic endeavors and technology, to be specific, is so strong that sometimes they seem to be one and the same—a perception that led many artists in the 1960s to explore the possibilities of introducing state-of-the-art materials and techniques, from optical effects to video projections, passing through algorithms, radar, and all kinds of elaborate mechanical devices along the way. Thus was born Jean Tinguely’s famous Homage to New York, whose complex machinery was designed to self-destruct. In time, however, it became clear that it is not the same thing to create a work of art that requires a certain technology (starting with the humble paintbrush) as it is to employ a technology that requires an artwork in order to exist. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Surface Tension, 1992. Computerized surveillance system, screen, and Delphi programming, dimensions variable.

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