International Sculpture Center
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Sculpture cover


November 2016
Vol. 35 No. 9

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Torrance, California: Yașam Șașmazer - Torrance Art Museum
by Kay Whitney
Yasam Sasmazer, SwirlIn art, the task of the body is to perform some signifying act of emotion; the representation of this act has been sculpture's job for centuries. As ideas regarding representation have evolved, the kind of emotion and the nature of the body on display have varied with the prevailing culture. Forty years ago, when artists' resistance to theater and narrative disappeared, the revival of figuration produced an ongoing critique of history and civilization expressed through the figure. Yașam Șașmazer's critique involves a dramatic, noir-esque enactment of anomie—a vision of the body as emptied out, gutted by experience. Her theatrically abject figures represent a meltdown, the individual's inability to express selfhood. The narrative of her work owes a great deal to Romantic notions of the body and emotion, and it is conceptually shaped by one of the great post- Victorian precursors to Modernism, the psychologist and visionary Carl Jung. Șașmazer draws from two of Jung's core concepts—the notion of the "shadow" and "metanoia." The concept of the shadow refers to the parts of the psyche that exist outside of and are concealed from the light of consciousness...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Yașam Șașmazer, Swirl, 2015. Wood and polyurethane, 63 x 45 x 44 in.
Boston: Mags Harries - Boston Sculptors Gallery and Gallery Kayafas
by Elizabeth Michelman
Mags Harries, Rising Water Mags Harries's recent Boston exhibitions attacked complacency toward the mounting consequences of melting polar ice. She charmed viewers with familiar nautical forms, wittily anthropomorphized, mimicking other materials, or inverted in scale. The shows included found and cast objects, installations, videos, and a series of digital prints and three-dimensional reproductions. Seductiveness alternated with terror, as we perceived the actors' imminent peril to be our own. Yet, Harries also offered hope of redemption through her irrepressible experimentation and inventiveness, marrying sophisticated technology with creative thought. At Boston Sculptors Gallery, a number of life preservers cast in provocative materials welcomed visitors with misleading cheer. A sense of grim foreboding lurked beneath the surface...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Mags Harries, Rising Water, 2015. Water, rope, bags, boots, and pulley system hardware, dimensions variable.
New Windsor, New York: Dennis Oppenheim - Storm King Art Center
by Joan Marter
Dennis Oppenheim, Dead Furrow Over a long and productive career, Dennis Oppenheim produced conceptual art, body art, earthworks, and sculpture. Now, five years after his death, the many phases of his artistic life are being celebrated as never before, in a perfect setting. His evolution from performance artist to creator of land projects and sculptural installations has found full-scale realization at Storm King Art Center (through November 13). Grassy fields accommodate several land projects, originally designed in the 1960s and positioned outdoors for the first time. Sculpture installations have been completed with the foliage designated by the artist in his original sketches. Within Storm King's vast hills can be found works that have never been seen as Oppenheim envisioned them...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Dennis Oppenheim, Dead Furrow, 1967/2016. Wood surfaced with organic pigment and PVC pipe, 10 x 40 x 35 ft.
New York: Renee Magnanti - Art Mora
by Jonathan Goodman
Renee Magnanti, Patch workRenee Magnanti is a highly gifted artist who carves encaustic to reveal layers of wax, often with a brightly hued background. Her work relates to the women's decorative art movement, part of the feminist art drive of the 1970s and '80s, when she was recently out of art school. Her carvings frequently include phrases or sentences about women from the faraway textile cultures whose patterns she sometimes borrows. Inevitably, her work brings up the question of craft and the long clichéd debate over whether decorative art can be taken seriously. In addition, some mistrust remains about so-called "women's art," which is usually characterized as feminist or political. Magnanti's work makes no apologies for its assimilated influences, but the end result is as much a matter of aesthetics as partisan discussion. It would be much easier to forego falsely complicated issues of categorization and simply look at what is in front of us. Magnanti's large Patchwork (2016), a complex encaustic carving dense with nine panels of patterns...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Renee Magnanti, Patch work, 2016. Carved encaustic on panel, 36 x 24 in.
New York: Doreen McCarthy - LMAKgallery
by Christopher Hart Chambers
Doreen McCarthy, Outdoor VoicesFour pretzel-like, inflated tubular shapes hung just overhead in a backyard "garden," held in place by clear monofilament fishing line. Colored yellow, pink, red, and light blue, each form ranged between three and four feet in size. The red one, Voice Inversion, revealed the most complex entanglement of inverted twists, forming a continuous Möbius strip of sorts. Though the other forms were completely monochromatic, the red piece featured a transparent section. These works might be thought of as super weird beach balls—a good selection for a summer show. Doreen McCarthy has also fabricated monumental versions, far too large to kick about for fun and games, but always fun to behold. Visitors could walk among McCarthy's works or view them from above, looking out a window o the gallery...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Doreen McCarthy, installation view of "Outdoor Voices," 2016.
New York: LeRone Wilson - gallery nine5
by Jan Garden Castro
Jan Garden Castro, Homage to RaLeRone Wilson's encaustic sculpture is abstract, Minimalist, and geometric yet loaded with individualizing touches. The highly textured and boldly colored surfaces are intense. The titles, such as Divine Circle, Stars Rained on Me, Homage to Ra (Sun), Distinction Between One Color, Universal Journey, and Footsteps of My Ancestor's Harkhuf, refer to spiritual, mythological, and philosophical concepts. "Universal Journey," the exhibition title, alludes to human history in general, and more specifically, to historic Egyptian uses of encaustic. Critic Christopher Stackhouse, in his exhibition essay, aligns Wilson's work with that of Eva Hesse and Donald Judd. For him, Wilson's "obsession with wax" is "phenomenological," combining "the human hand and technological intervention." Though the use of encaustic is ancient, everything else about Wilson's approach seems original. He creates his work by building layers of beeswax...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

LeRone Wilson, Homage to Ra (Sun), 2016. Encaustic on panel, 36 in. diameter.
Buenos Aires: Augusto Zanela - Centro Cultural Recoleta
by Maria Carolina Baulo
Augusto Zanela, LuzazulIn "The First Day," Augusto Zanela— an architect, photographer, and teacher—highlights some of the concerns that have driven his work since 1996, when he began investigating the processes of image for - mation as applied to photography, video, and installation. He is particularly interested in optical tricks and structures created in the viewer's space—both physical and mental. Following a rigorous plan, his recent exhibition of three installations established a dialogue across words, colors, and forms through the effects of light. S / T (the first day) is a site-specific piece that questions the mystery of creation. The repetition of the same pattern (the neon lights) on the ceiling establishes a game with the mirror that stands behind viewers when they enter the room...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Augusto Zanela, Luzazul, 2004/2016. Paint, mirror, and LED-programmed illumination
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Catherine Heard Art Gallery of Hamilton
by J. Lynn Fraser
Catherine Heard, Myrllen: A PortraitCatherine Heard's sculptures are disturbing and ethereal, revealing the restraints of corporeal being as well as the intangibles of the soul/creativity. Myrllen: A Portrait, for instance, has indistinct, rounded features akin to Pompeian remains—empty eye sockets and vague features. The graygreen head was created from hundreds of thin layers of linen, lace, paper, clay, and wax. The only external evidence of this laborious process is a rough, compressed texture; a fabric mandala is pressed into its crown. Projected on the wall behind the portrait, which rests sideways on a spotlighted plinth in a darkened room, a series of mono chromatic tones endlessly repeat individual layers of the head's "architecture." This film, with its silent parade of ghostly images, was created when the head was CT scanned, using the appropriately named Osirix software. Individual layers of materials dissolve, morph, and reappear in eerie flashes, as Heard seemingly captures the consciousness and memories of the real-life Myrllen, who was institutionalized in Tennessee in 1948...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Catherine Heard, Myrllen: A Portrait, 2016. Fabric, embroidery, mixed media, and projected animation, dimensions variable.
Trent, Italy: Stefano Cagol - Civica/MART
by Lisa Streitfeld
Stefano Cagol, Tridentum Civica, the Trent branch of MART, Italy's lauded contemporary art museum, ingeniously structured Stefano Cagol's mid-career retrospective into a cycle that evoked the return of the native son to the site of his first exhibition. Beginning with an early self-portrait (1998) compounded into four states of motion, the show traced the paradigm shift that characterizes two decades of Cagol's work. Unity through duality is a chief preoccupation, from early video experiments to September 11 (2009), an LED of memorial events on his birthday. In Cagol's struggle to define a new medium through its origins in television, we arrive at a 1995 installation that flashes the words "The new God" through the scrambled signals of a TV set. Having defined the goal, we enter dual visions captured in Berlin, the icon of division unified...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Stefano Cagol, TRIDENTUM (Parallel Convergences), 2011. Steel, 3 elements, 65 x 300 x 150 cm.
Rotterdam: Ugo Rondinone - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
by Robert Preece
Ugo Rondinone, Vocabulary of Solitude Maybe it is a good idea to fill a museum with 45 life-like sculptures of clowns supplemented by colorful, rainbow-inspired and cartoon-like works—or maybe not. In any event, Ugo Rondinone chose to do just this in his recent exhibition, "Vocabulary of Solitude," which also doubled as a retrospective of his color spectrum works. This was one of the weirdest art experiences I've had in some time, prompting a PTSD-like reaction similar to those I had in response to the 1980s horror films of my youth. Would any of these creepy clowns come to life like the demonic Chucky in Child's Play (1988)? Personal reaction was anticipated in the exhibition press release, which described the works as "prompt[ing] free association and memories." Other viewers appeared less unnerved...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Ugo Rondinone, installation view of "Vocabulary of Solitude," 2016.
London: Alexis Dahan - LAMB Arts
by Will Chancellor
Alex Dahan, Off the Beaten Track Détournement, the act of decomposing and redistributing cultural value, resists literal translation but finds its closest approximation in "culture jamming." Détournement is a turn, but it is also a confrontation. It is not just veering from the road, but ripping cobblestones from the road and lobbing them. As Guy Debord and Gil Wolman saw it, "The cheapness of its products is the heavy artillery that breaks through the Chinese walls of understanding." In "Interstice," Alexis Dahan's first move was to "détourn" Robert Smith - son's psycho-geographic essay, "A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey" (1967). Smithson chronicled a bridge, a sandbox, and six drainage pipes, all ersatz monuments of his suburban hometown...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Alexis Dahan, Off the Beaten Track, 2016. Plaster, dimensions variable.
DISPATCH: Peekskill, New York - "Peekskill Project 6"
by Amy Lipton
Molly Haslund, Circles: Drawing Upon the Universe A citywide public art festival organized by the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (HVCCA), "Peekskill Project," which launched in 2004, is devoted to bringing contemporary art out of the museum and into the community, specifically into spaces not normally used to present art. The 2015 iteration, "Peekskill Project 6," featured works by 57 U.S. and international artists selected by an international curatorial committee and presented in various locations around the city, including empty industrial buildings, storefronts, public parks, and private homes, as well as at HVCCA. Each artist spent a significant amount of time in Peekskill to explore its rich social, geographic, and cultural history...see the entire review in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.

Molly Haslund, CIRCLES: Drawing Upon the Universe, 2013–15. Performance with handmade compasses, chalk, and photographs.

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