International Sculpture Center
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Sculpture cover


May 2016
Vol. 35 No. 4

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York: Patrick Strzelec - Garth Greenan Gallery
by Raina Mehler
Patrick Strzelec Feeder Patrick Strzelec’s recent exhibition featured a mature body of work evoking a variety of profound emotions—joy, sadness, fear, recognition, and foreboding. Composed of diverse materials, including plaster, alum­inum, epoxy, steel, bronze, ceramic, wood, and detritus, the sculptures collapse recognizable and illogical forms. Strzelec uses postmodern strategies—appropriation, assemblage, and simulacra—but unlike many of his contemporaries, he crafts his work with his own hands. For over two decades, he has worked in numerous studios and foundries and taught sculpture at prestigious universities. These experiences have fostered his mastery of artistic processes like woodworking, welding, and casting, as demonstrated in this show. Seven sculptures were dynamically arranged in a single, white-walled gallery. Viewers approached each piece from all sides, their understanding of what they saw changing as they moved ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Patrick Strzelec, Feeder, 2015. Bondo, wood, steel, and aluminum, 60.5 x 51.5 x 72 in.
Denver, CO: Amber Cobb - Gildar Gallery
by Daisy McGowan
Amber Cobb Solace Amber Cobb’s exhibition, “Solace,” immersed viewers in a sculptural dialogue of fleshy tones and dichotomously seductive and repulsive forms. Building on a practice rooted in psychological and physical attachments, Cobb probed the space between the decorative and the grotesque, filling both rooms of the gallery with 12 wall-bound sculptures, a series of small figurines, and a large, centrally located sculpture in the round. Cobb gathers and treats a range of domestic objects—blankets, bedding, bath mats, figurines, and bedroom furniture—with silicone, resin, paint, and acrylic media. Pouring, dipping, dripping, pooling, and painting directly onto the objects, she renders them into sculptural forms closer to flesh and bodily fluids than inanimate home furnishings. Works cast in silicone and etched with the memory of blankets and other source objects hung deflated and stretched from nails interwoven with more corpulent works ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Amber Cobb, installation view of Solace, 2015.
Washington, DC: "Interspatial" - Transformer
by Sarah Tanguy
Rachel Schmidt Deadliest Catch “Interspatial” was the second collaboration of the pop-up curatorial group Quota. Co-founded by Dawne Langford and Avi Gupta, Quota champions a broad definition of cultural diversity beyond notions of otherness and tokenism. Featuring installations by Rachel Schmidt, Johab Silva, and Levester Williams, the show dialogued in clever and unexpected ways with the architecture of Transformer’s shotgun gallery, as well as with the changing fabric of the neighborhood. Time became fluid in this malleable context, while space, both imagined and real, stretched to encompass in-between spaces and the jarring boundaries that define them. The future is now in Schmidt’s cautionary fable, Deadliest Catch. Mounted above head height, the sculpture gave an unsettling twist to the phrase “catch of the day” with its allusions to the folly of unbridled urbanization and the impact of population growth on the planet ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Rachel Schmidt, Deadliest Catch, 2014. Archival pigment print, paper, foam, and wood, dimensions variable.
Portland, Maine: Jo Israelson - Maine Jewish Museum
by B. Amore
Jo Israelson Jennie Markson Apron A white taxi sat incongruously on the green lawn outside the Maine Jewish Museum. When visitors took a seat inside the cab, a heavily accented voice began relating a personal story of a journey taken from a far-off place to the streets of Portland, Maine. Irish, Italian, Greek, Eastern European, Bosnian, Somali, and Syrian immigrants have found their way to this northern seaport. Many of them were professionals, teachers, engineers, and physicians in their homelands, and then they found themselves driving cabs through Portland’s narrow streets as they transitioned to new lives in America. Jo Israelson, now based in Balti­more/DC, returned to her old neighborhood to create the exhibition, “Welcoming the Stranger.” The title echoes the mandate from the Bible, the Quran, and the Torah to welcome strangers who come in need. Israelson’s extensive research brought many surprises, one of which was the fact that her great-grandfather had helped to establish the synagogue that is now the Maine Jewish Museum ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Jo Israelson, Jennie Markson Apron, 2015. Canvas, cross-stitch, photo transfer, clothespins, ribbon, paper, thread, and buttons, 1.75 x 1.75 ft.
Glassboro, NJ: Jeanne Jaffe- Rowan University Art Gallery
by Leslie Kaufman
Jeanne Jaffe Elegy For Tesla Nikola Tesla, the “genius inventor,” has been brought back to life on the page, stage, and screen; in Jeanne Jaffe’s room-size installation, his “spirit” animates multiple cast resin marionettes (some life-size and some miniature). Each figure references a chapter in Tesla’s life as seen from the outside and imagined from the inside. Created as an interdisciplinary fusion of art, science, history, theater, mythology, and psychology, Elegy for Tesla allows viewers to accompany and interact with “Tesla” by experiencing moments along his life’s journey. Inspired by a theatrical performance on Tesla’s life, Jaffe found the perfect subject for her interest in an enhanced integration of art with science and technology. An earlier project, T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, had included small interactive marionettes that moved and spoke. Elegy for Tesla goes further—it mashes up time by presenting a life-size, robust, young Tesla and a smaller, wizened, old Tesla, representing high and low points in the life of a man famed for myriad inventions (Tesla coil, alternating current, wireless technology, radar, and many others), who never achieved the recognition he deserved in his lifetime ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Jeanne Jaffe, Elegy for Tesla, 2015. Mixed media, motion sensors, interactive computing, and video, dimensions variable.
Morristown, NJ: Jane Manus - Simon Gallery
by Bruce Helander
Jane Manus Black and Brushed Over the last four decades, Jane Manus has followed a Minimalist tradition in her geometric-inspired sculpture. Like previous sculptors exploring new avenues of three-dimensional, non-narrative form, Manus is determined to stretch the boundaries of contemporary sculpture; she meticulously pieces together hollowed-out, square, elongated tubing, albeit sparingly, to form connective symmetrical linear lines that are seamlessly welded together. Following David Smith, Anthony Caro, Mark di Suvero, and Donald Judd, Manus celebrates the creative challenge of reducing shape and form, introducing a pronounced simplification of lengthened shapes that generate a recognizable visual harmony. Each work starts with a small-scale cardboard and scotch tape model; she then fabricates a rough maquette in aluminum, which is later transposed into a much larger welded form meticulously spray-painted in its final stage ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Jane Manus, Black and Brushed, 2010. Painted aluminum.
New York: Max Ernst - Paul Kasmin Gallery
by Joyce Beckenstein
Max Ernst Etes-vous Niniche Chess Figures (1944), the wooden chess set that Max Ernst made while vacationing in Great River, Long Island, greeted visitors to “Max Ernst/Paramyths: Sculpture, 1934– 1967.” Like Marcel Duchamp, Ernst was a player of a game that conscripts intellectual wit to commandeer abstract warriors through never-ending configurations of battle. It’s play, but serious play, and that’s precisely how Ernst regarded his sculptural output—as a spirited inter­­lude to overcome creative block. “Whenever I reach an impasse in my painting, which happens time and time again, sculpture always helps me out,” he once remarked to the filmmaker Peter Shamoni. The chess set, its wooden playing pieces inspired by ordinary objects and simple stacked geometric shapes—spoons, triangles, circles, and crescents—provided the basic visual vocabulary for the freestanding bronze works in this show ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Nancy Cohen, Hackensack Dreaming, 2014-2015. Glass, handmade paper, rubber, wire, and monofilament, approx. 20 x 30 x 11 ft.
New York: Pablo Picasso - Museum of Modern Art
by Kathleen Whitney
Pablo Picasso Bull Eighty years of Modernist bombast has masked Picasso’s work in hyperbole, diminishing comprehension and neglecting what’s most interesting about it. At this point in time, Picasso’s two-dimensional work is cliché, but his three-dimensional work astonishes. It is insanely compulsive, almost hallucinogenic. Immense biomorphic and figurative abstractions; bulbous, florid surfaces; huge bronzes impressed with irrational patterns; diagrammatic metal structures that resemble folded paper; steel cages—an enormous body of work that’s almost incomprehensible in its variety. Picasso casually exploded categories—his cut, painted, cast, and assembled works make use of everything. What wasn’t already out there (Picasso routinely cannibalized the work of other artists, notably non-Western ones), he made up, simultaneously changing the definition of sculpture. Often without consciousness of the debt, sculptors such as Louise Bourgeois, Stephan Balkenhol, and Kiki Smith owe their careers to splinters of ideas that Picasso generated and then discarded. Most people know Picasso’s sculptures through the licensed images repeatedly reproduced in art ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Pablo Picasso, Bull, 1958. Plywood, tree branch, nails, and screws, 117.2 x 144.1 x 10.5 cm.
Salt Lake City: Rodrigo Valenzuela - CUAC Contemporary Art
by Alexandra Karl
Rodrigo Valenzuela Prole As presidential candidates muddle around in the public arena, failing to articulate a humane approach to immigration, the American public is left to wonder: Who else can take up the baton and defend the basic rights of migrant workers? We’ve all heard how laborers—from Mexican fruit pickers to Vietnamese salon workers—undertake perilous journeys only to face a profusion of obstacles once here. Perhaps most disconcerting is the apathy of the people around them. Indeed, at the heart of the “immigration issue” lies a profound quandary: How can a demographic so deeply embedded in American life be utterly invisible to the point of political impotence? Rodrigo Valenzuela explored these questions in his recent show. Five oversize flags hung from the walls in the front gallery, with three narrow light boxes extending into the room between them. The light boxes contained images of union chapter emblems, photos of protests, and film stills ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Rodrigo Valenzuela, installation view of Prole, 2015.
Brattleboro, VT: Gregory Miguel Gómez & Rodrigo Nava - Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
by B. Amore
Gregory Miguel Gomez Reclining Infinity The steel sculptures of Gregory Miguel Gómez and Rodrigo Nava felt right at home juxtaposed against the hand-textured reddish stone of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, formerly the old Union Station. The vision of curator Mara Williams was flawless in pairing two sculptors whose work complements a post-industrial setting (the museum overlooks the intersection of the Connecticut and West Rivers, and Amtrak trains still pull up behind the building). Gómez is a Boston sculptor who lives part-time in Vermont. Reclining Infinity, created for its location at the museum entrance, was a showstopper. Its 44 linear feet of rounded coils resemble a giant snake swallowing its own tail, like an ouroboros. The stainless steel rods that form the skeleton become a nearly transparent web in sunlight, covered by an open “skin” of small, black, patella-like forms, each one cast in bronze and attached to one of the underlying rods ...see the entire review in the print version of May'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.
Arlington, Virginia: Shawn Smith - Artisphere
by Sarah Tanguy
Shawn Smith Cheetah What is our relationship to the digital, and how is the digital impacting us? The answer for Shawn Smith is one pixel at a time. In his recent show, “Pixels, Predators, and Prey,” Smith mapped out the interaction between the natural and the digital, the real and the simulated, in 10 eye-popping sculptures of animals and, for the first time, humans. In his hands, clusters of painted wood sticks mutate into their subjects— a kind of 21st-century, dimensional pointillism on steroids. Moved from their natural habitat into the gallery and shown frozen in action, they were at once recognizable and eerily mathematical. Only ambient, breathy sounds filled the silence, a NASA recording of seismic oscillations from the sun. Smith grew up in Dallas, Texas, where he experienced nature for the most part through television and the computer. Now, he takes advantage of this filter by using pictures culled off the Internet as his primary source material and translating data chunks into the building blocks of his sculptures ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Shawn Smith, Cheetah, 2015. Plywood, ink, and acrylic paint, 16 x 70 x 12.5 in.
Vancouver: Valérie Blass - Catriona Jeffries
by Gary Pearson
Valerie Blass Dire a jamais qu'une seule chose a jamais la meme chose One of the rewards of looking at contemporary art, and at sculpture in particular, is the opportunity to track, for want of a better description, the genealogy of the field and its many innovations. More than any other art form, sculpture deserves the historical distinction of being the most adaptive and experimental of artistic disciplines—if today’s sculpture seems set on redefining itself, it is in keeping with a longstanding tradition. Of late, it appears that artists are being mindful of the key formal and stylistic tropes of Modernism. Valérie Blass’s recent exhibition, “To Only Ever Say One Thing Forever the Same Thing,” presented an intriguing intersection of sculpture and performance art photography. The choreography of her actors’ activities was limited to static and slightly absurdist poses that, once transcribed photographically, become instrumental to the orientation of various sculptural assemblages, tableaux, and objects. The failure of it all is a vaguely Cubo-Futurist/Machine Age piece (think early Léger) constructed of gypsum cement, epoxy dough, and acrylic paint. Conically formed and mold-cast, this two-part, stacked hollow object with photographically transferred abstract brushmark motifs articulating multiple surfaces can only be fully appreciated in the round. Its overall artistry in fabrication also includes a surface treatment that masquerades as sculptural modeling ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Valérie Blass, Dire á jamais qu'une seule chose á jamais la même chose, 2015. Sculpting epoxy dough, sand, fool's gold, Plexiglas, and metal, 51.25 x 9.5 x 9.5 in.
Cologne: Danh Vo - Museum Ludwig
by Mark S. Price
Danh Vo Shove it up your ass you faggot “Ydob eht ni mraw si ti,” the title of Danh Vo’s recent exhibition, was first growled in 1973 by a satanically possessed girl in The Exorcist. The phrase also represents the backward spelling of “It is warm in the body.” No medium or material typified the works in the show, but a strategic scattering of the photographs of Peter Hujar (1934–87) amplified Vo’s extended lament about human suffering. We the People, a 20-foot-tall, copper-plated iteration of Lady Liberty’s draped armpit, was the largest sculptural object. Vo’s fragmentation challenges the monumentality of the New York City original—14 other proxy body parts are strewn about the museum world awaiting, or having undergone, display. A single Hujar photo of Candy Darling on her deathbed punctuated the expansive, otherwise bare walls of the We the People gallery. Is Vo positing that Liberty has died, or that she has ramified into portable, sacred relics? A life-size Christ effigy sans crucifix, You’re Gonna Die Up There, loomed in a dimly lit room. Mounted at eye level on a wall—translucent and sensuous—the savior’s headless ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Danh Vo, Shove it up your ass, you faggot, 2013. 2 branches, multi-colored wood carving, and 3 photographs by Peter Hujar, 68 x 441 x 148 cm.
London: Aiden Salakhova - Saatchi Gallery
by Seine Dispree
Aiden Love Aidan Salakhova, known as Aidan, is a forthright, confident artist. Since 1989, when the USSR was suddenly and quite bloodlessly dismantled, she has established a large and dedicated following as one of the key protagonists in Moscow’s contemporary art scene. She was born into the city’s cultural elite: her father, Tahir Salahov, was and is a major artist living in Moscow. Her parents originate from oil-rich Azerbaijan, where East and West meet, and where the overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim. Aidan’s work expresses a growing awareness of herself as a desiring woman shaking off suppression. A determination to be true to herself alone co-exists with a cat-and-mouse teasing of the traditional male gaze, a combination that makes her work at once erotic and yet pure, as it flirts with authoritarianism. She focuses on the idea of veiling as a game of hide and seek, and the niqab is transformed into an adornment of proud, unchaste nudity ...see the entire review in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.

Aiden Salakhova, Love, 2015. White statuary marble, 210 x 155 x 42 cm.

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