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Sculpture cover


January/February 2018
Vol. 37 No. 1

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Laura Amussen - Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College
by Kay Whitney
Nature Nurture, 2014. In Laura Amussen's recent exhibition, nature provided relief from the pressures of an increasingly stressful world. The works in this intimate, meditative installation were formed from twigs, leaves, reeds, moss, and seeds. The walls were painted a dark red-brown color, the earthiness reinforced by low lighting focused only on the objects. "Nourish" opened with a quotation from the writer and poet Brian Andreas: "These are the days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself." For transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, nature is an expression of the divine and a way to understand the spiritual; art is nature combined with the will of human beings. In an increasingly complicated world, when technology provides advances but also exerts ever more pressure on individuals, Amussen follows this approach, seeking a path that restores the value of time and contemplation....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Laura Amussen, Nature Nurture, 2014. Moss and natural materials on fabric, 65 in. diameter.
Oakland, California, Diana Al-Hadid - Mills College Art Museum and San Jose Museum of Art
by Maria Porges
Head in the Clouds, 2014. Simultaneously delicate and monumental, familiar and inexplicably strange, Diana Al-Hadid's work draws on an astounding range of cultural references, only some of which are visible to the naked eye. Fragments of images from paintings, often of biblical subjects, as well as allusions to literature, history, architecture, and science, all invest her sculpture with a backstory. It's a complicated tale, combining Middle Eastern and (mostly) Western allusions and iconography to recontextualize the known in new ways. Al-Hadid is one of the most inventive and materially experimental artists of her generation, but her trademark has become visually delicate, "decayed" structures, sometimes quite large, built of drips and poured skeins of polymer gypsum-- essentially, plaster modified with additives that make it stronger and more flexible....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Diana Al-Hadid, Head in the Clouds, 2014. Polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, foam, wood, plaster, clay, gold leaf, and pigment, installation view.
Washington, DC: Foon Sham - American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center
by Danielle O'Steen
Escape I, Tunnel, 2016. Foon Sham's sculptures evoke a myriad of forms--towers, vessels, baskets, grottoes, mountains, and even tornadoes. Often spiraling upward or outward, his works are built with layered wood, and they are participatory. Since the 1990s, he has created structures that invite viewers into intimate, light-dappled, and wood-scented spaces. Part of the thrill of his work is entering it-- a sometimes acrobatic feat when faced with low, jagged passageways. The reward for exploration is a view of complex, textured interiors that open skyward. The experience offers a romantic encounter with wood, which Sham makes the star of his work. "Escape," curated by Laura Roulet, featured three recent, large-scale works....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Foon Sham, Escape I, Tunnel, 2016. Pine, 14 x 62 x 5 ft.
New York: "Politicizing Space" - Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
by Jonathan Goodman
Monolith, 2017."Politicizing Space," curated by Charlotta Kotik, took as its premise the fact that space can be made political by manmade interventions and used to control human movement and behavior. Kotik emphasized the need to understand how this stratagem works in light of Trump administration policies such as the Mexican border wall. The 11 artists in the show addressed the subject through both figurative and abstract works, underscoring Kotik's assertion that even nonobjective imagery can be used to direct or restrict people. Carin Riley's Caryatid I (2017) is a complex, seemingly abstract rendering of the female figures that support Greek architecture. For Kotik, the image implies how women in ancient Greece could be seen as both sources of strength and objects of suppression....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

David Goodman, Monolith, 2017. Acrylic on wood, 72 x 48 x 24 in.
New York: Zheng Lu - Sundaram Tagore Gallery
by Thalia Vrachopoulos
Zheng Lu, Insubstantiality No. 2, 2017.A first impression of Zheng Lu's recent exhibition, "Undercurrent," brought to mind the term "sublime." Set against pristine white walls, huge silvery waves seemed about to crash through space. The obvious association was to Hokusai's 19th-century print The Great Wave off Kanagawa, but stylistically, Zheng's waves have more in common with Northern Song black ink painting, adapted in Japan as Sumi-e, whose sharply delineated brushwork has been compared to samurai sword strokes by the prominent Asian scholar Sherman E. Lee. One couldn't help but notice the sharp edges of the waves breaking on the floor and floating in the air, and it soon became evident that the metal sculptures depend, at least in part, on calligraphic gesture. The interaction of solid and void projected myriad shadows, apparent chaos ordered by art....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Zheng Lu, Insubstantiality No. 2, 2017. Lightbox, image, convex lens, and glass, 49 x 49 x 3.5 in.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: Tove Storch - Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery
by Ray Cronin
Untitled, 2017.Danish sculptor Tove Storch app roaches sculpture as a way of thinking about materials and looking at space. Arguably, so do all sculptors, but Storch harks back to Minimalists and post-Minimalists such as Donald Judd, Richard Serra, and Jackie Winsor in her refusal to allow thoughts about anything else to intrude on her work. The content of Storch's work is, quite simply, space and stuff, presented within the theater of the gallery. While the work, as material and space, exists regardless of its perception, as art, it exists only in the viewer's immediate reception of it. One experiences it in the moment, like music, not over time, like a philosophical argument. In her first North American exhibition, Storch resisted any temptation to introduce viewers to her work or to sum up her practice. Instead, she presented one large piece that directly engaged the architecture of the gallery....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Tove Storch, Untitled, 2017. .25-inch cold-rolled steel rods, 137 elements, 23.5 x 60.7 x 27 ft.
Tel Aviv: Yaacov Dorchin - Gordon Gallery
by Gil Goldfine
Yaacov Dorchin, Angel 1, 2013.Stella Maris, a colossal, open-ended ship's hull made of discarded, rusted iron components from an industrial turbine, stood at the entrance to a recent exhibition by veteran Israeli sculptor Yaacov Dorchin. A confrontational work in terms of size, bulk, and apparent symbolism, Stella Maris offers a clue to its meaning on the base, which incorporates an iron Star of David. Dorchin seems to be saying that this mighty vessel (Israel), buffeted by rough seas and high winds, faces a political calamity, about to sink to a salty demise. Alternatively, the star could represent governmental ballast, an ideology that keeps the vessel afloat and on course. Although Stella Maris challenges the viewer's intellectual and emotional faculties, it also provides an exceptional aesthetic experience through the rhythmic ebb and flow of its curved cylinders and the warmth of its reddish-brown patina....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Yaacov Dorchin, Angel 1, 2013. Iron, 80 x 55 x 30 cm.
Rotterdam: Rhonda Zwillinger - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
by Robert Preece
Cha Cha (from the Dada Toys series), 2010.
Rhonda Zwillinger's recent exhibition was unexpectedly rattling. Ten hours after the experience, I could still feel the accompanying soundtrack. The show opened a door that I found myself not wanting to cross because the situation was so troubling. Though the work progressed from tragedy toward acceptance (my wishful thinking?), it offered a disturbing story that deserves attention. Zwillinger, who was active in New York City's East Village scene in the mid-1970s and '80s, received widespread attention for sculptures and installations covered with beads and faux precious stones. Both conceptually strong and decorative, these works combined craft techniques, pop culture references, and a visual language drawn from Hollywood to make humorous comments on social mores and male/female relations. In the early 1990s, her life changed dramatically: she had developed a hypersensitivity to chemicals, including those she worked with, a fact that drastically altered her life and work. She left New York and moved to a small house on the edge of the desert in Arizona....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Rhonda Zwillinger, Cha Cha (from the Dada Toys series), 2010. Steel base/armature on wheels, permitted white-tailed deer antlers, and glass beads and Swarovski crystals on string wire, 66 x 57 x 57 cm.

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