International Sculpture Center

   
January/February 2013
Vol. 32 No 1

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York - Bharti Kher: Hauser & Wirth
by Jonathan Goodman
Born in London, living in Delhi for 20 years, Bharti Kher creates powerful conceptual works that draw on different aspects of her personal experience. Often multivalent in presentation, her symbolic, sometimes allegorical sculptures incorporate old and new themes, enlarging myth and legend through visual tropes that engage our freer speculations. The title of her recent show, “The hot winds that blow from the West,” refers to the intensely hot winds that cross North India and Pakistan during the summer. Kher sees these winds, which originate in places of power from the last century, as lacking in force and, to some extent, in ethical value. Her constructions support a female mythology of considerable imagination, most visible in The messenger (2011), a cast fiberglass figure characterized by Kher as an urban witch, though there is also a connection to the Hindu goddess Dakini, known as the materialization of female spiritual force. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Bharti Kher, The messenger, 2011. Fiberglass, wooden rake, sari, and resin, 188 x 136 x 84 cm.
San Francisco - David Hare: Weinstein Gallery
by Peter Selz
The Weinstein Gallery is to be commended for bringing attention to American artists who were close to the Surrealist movement, including Enrique Donati, Gordon Onslow Ford, Jimmy Ernst, and David Hare. In today’s media-drenched culture, our recall of artists is as short-lived as our attention to political events, and Hare has been out of view for too long. A major bridge between the Surrealists in exile in New York and what we know as the New York School, he was also an innovative sculptor who produced singular work based on what Sartre called “emotional imagery.” In 1944, when Hare had a solo show at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century Gallery, Howard Putzel described him in the catalogue as “the best sculptor since Giacometti, Calder, and Moore.” ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

David Hare, Man Running, 1954. Bronze and welded steel on wood base, 22 x 31 x 11 in.
Boston - Nancy Selvage: Boston Sculptors Gallery
by Marty Carlock
The retinal dazzle of Op Art came and went decades ago—as with many fads, it caught the eye, and then there seemed little more to say. But here it is again, mobile and in three dimensions, in the metal work of Nancy Selvage. This time, it appears to have many more possi- bilities. Selvage’s medium of choice is perforated aluminum screening, variously used for filters, vents, acoustic panels, and guardrails. Unlike the color theorists behind two-dimensional Op Art, Selvage works in black and white, but her visual tricks are even more dynamic. With carefully calculated spacing, she layers screening to create moiré effects.
...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Nancy Selvage, Navigration, 2012. Perforated aluminum, paint, and light, 11 x 18.5 x 5.75 ft.
Lincoln, Massachusetts - Julianne Swartz: deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
by Marty Carlock
Is it possible for an exhibition that includes blocks of cast cement to be too subtle? In her retrospective “How Deep Is Your,” Julianne Swartz worked primarily with gossamer, mirrors, sound, clockworks, and magnets, in addition to cement. It was not an installation for the hurried visitor, nor for the hard of hearing or for those with difficulty seeing. Some of the works were almost invisible and/or inaudible. Yet close attention revealed an art of audacity, inventiveness, and wit. Entering the deCordova, one had the option of ascending the stairs or using the elevator, which offered two extremely varied introductions to Swartz’s show. A sky-blue pipe placed overhead ran up the stairs—but unless you had a coat to hang up, you might not have discovered that the pipe originated behind a door, opened just enough to allow a glimpse of Storagescape, a funhouse mirror reflecting red and blue disco lights and red machinery of unknown purpose. Swartz’s challenges to the senses trumped visual aesthetics at every turn. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Julianne Swartz, Surrogate (JS), Surrogate (KRL), Surrogate (ARL), 2012. Cement, mica, and clock movements, 40–72 x 17–24 x 8–14 in.
New York - John Chamberlain:
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
by Corinne Robins
Freestanding sculptures and wall pieces by John Chamberlain filled the Guggenheim Museum’s four floors last spring, offering viewers a posthumous survey of the artist’s crumpled steel and crushed metal sculptures from the past 40 years. His unique approach to sculpture began in 1957, when he took material from an antique car belonging to Larry Rivers and drove over it, as he told Julie Sylvester in a 1991 interview published in a Pace Gallery catalogue. Chamberlain then began selecting pieces from junkyards and body shops and subjecting them to a variety of tools, including a slicer, a steel-cutting chisel, and an acetylene torch. Credited with translating Abstract Expressionism into three dimensions, Chamberlain was often discussed in relation to de Kooning, his sculptural process compared to gestural painting. The originality of Chamberlain’s use of color, however, is demonstrated by a black, brown, and chrome pedestal sculpture made in 1963 and later titled Marilyn. A pastel-colored companion piece, Miss Lucy Pink, looks forward in its construction to later, denser constructions....see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

John Chamberlain, SPHINXGRIN TWO, 2010. Aluminum, 490 x 420 x 370 cm.
New York - Kevin Francis Gray: Haunch of Venison
by Jonathan Goodman
The pursuit of figurative sculpture today occurs not without a sense of déjà vu; like figurative painting, representational sculpture is hard put to break out of tradition to reach an exploratory, even experimental, sense of the medium. But Kevin Francis Gray’s recent work shows us that a questioning, innovative sensibility can still expand the range of figurative art. Frequently relying on a simple, yet transformative stylistic decision—draping—Gray highlights the figure and imbues it with a bit of mystery. He works with a fairly broad range of materials (bronze, porcelain, and marble) and installs his works in unusual ways. For example, Twelve Chambers (2012) consists of 12 undraped porcelain heads arranged in rows and set chest high on top of pedestals. In this nicely installed show, each work occupied a considerable amount of space, enabling viewers to move back and appreciate the pieces from a distance. Sculpture can trace its beginnings to the memorialization of the dead, and one senses that this purpose is not so far from Gray’s intentions. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Kevin Francis Gray, Temporal Sitter, 2012. Patinated bronze and Bardigilio marble, 89.9 x 89.9 x 169.9 cm.
New York - Eve Ingalls: SOHO20 Chelsea
by Ilene Dube
Eve Ingalls works out of a former chicken coop in the Sourland Mountains of New Jersey, with a vista that could be mistaken for Vermont, but thoughts of oil spills, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other forms of environmental destruction are never far from her mind. Human manipulation may be destroying the earth, but she finds beauty in bringing it to the forefront of our attention. A student of Josef Albers, Ingalls was a painter for many years, but at the turn of the millennium, she moved away from the rectangle and turned to sculpture. She discovered cast paper and became intrigued with how it collaborates as it dries on the armature. “It gives the feeling of life that goes beyond me,” Ingalls has said. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Eve Ingalls, Drawing Back to the Pyramid, 2011. Handmade abaca paper, 65 x 134 x 173 in.
New York - Chiharu Shiota: Haunch of Venison
by Jonathan Goodman
Chiharu Shiota’s sculptures and installations use basic materials—glass windows, black thread, found objects such as a violin or a child’s dress—in highly innovative ways. Born in Japan, now based in Berlin, Shiota makes use of an international language of contemporary art, one which serves to poetically enclose information about objects whose history can be felt if not touched. A lyricist of dark song, she shows us what can be done with the simplest of means—for example, a distressed violin suspended within a web of black thread. Her work embodies an evocative attitude rather than a formalist aesthetic, leaving us to consider the implications of a double message that combines high-flown spirituality with the dread that accompanies doom. The juxtaposition of ideas and feelings may be eccentric, but the results are remarkable for their emotional tenacity, making the 40-year-old artist someone to watch as she enacts—Shiota is also a performance artist— her terms of presence and absence. Other Side (2012), a very large installation of variable dimensions, consists entirely of glass windows collected from abandoned buildings and other disused sites in East Berlin. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Chiharu Shiota, Reflection of the Past, 2012. Black thread, antique mirror, and glass, installation view.
New York - Richard Van Buren: Gary Snyder Gallery
by Robin Reisenfeld
Two mid-size rooms barely contained the luminous effect generated by Richard Van Buren’s new wall and floor sculptures. Spaciously displayed, the sinuous, winding forms all delighted the eye like brightly colored jewels and enticed with highly ornate surfaces coated in an array of delicate hues studded with shells. The extravagant surfaces might surprise someone familiar with the artist’s work from the late ’60s and early ’70s. During that time, Van Buren was known for large-scale, irregularly shaped, plywood and fiberglass sculptures exemplified by Free Epton (1966), which was included in “Primary Structures,” the Jewish Museum’s landmark exhibition of Minimalism. He also created poured, pigmented resin and fiberglass pieces such as For Najeeb (1972) that pushed the boundaries between painting and sculpture like similar work by Lynda Benglis. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Richard Van Buren, Batambang, 2010. Thermoplastic, acrylic paint, and shells, 21 x 43 x 27 in.
New York - 2012 Whitney Biennial: Whitney Museum of American Art
by Susan Canning
The 2012 Whitney Biennial was a modest affair. Whether by choice or necessity, this economy of means resulted in a refreshingly accessible exhibition with a personal, DIY aesthetic, one that acknowledged the downsized ambitions and reduced funding of the Great Recession while remaining intent on taking the pulse of the contemporary art world. With selected artists numbering around 50, curators Elizabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders accented the hybrid, collective, and expanded parameters of current art practice by including performance, dance, and theater along with installations, painting, and sculpture. Dissolving boundaries between mediums, exhibition spaces, artists, and the public, the biennial became a container for the uncontainable. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Installation view of Whitney Biennial, with Sam Lewitt, Fluid Employment, 2012; ferromagnetic liquid poured bi-weekly over plastic.
Pittsburgh - Cathy Wilkes: Carnegie Museum of Art
by Elaine A. King
Cathy Wilkes, who studied at the Glasgow School of Art in the mid-’80s and then helped to fuel the city’s art scene in the 1990s, has become known for enigmatic, sometimes poignant installations fabricated from sculpted and appropriated found objects. In 2008, the Belfast-born artist was nominated for the Turner Prize, and in the summer of 2011, she had her first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. at the Aspen Art Museum. Her multi-part show at the Carnegie Museum of Art included a new sculpture, an installation centered on three low-to-the-ground tables holding miscellaneous items, and nine complex paintings, which were incorporated into the installation. Over the past 20 years, Wilkes has developed an idiosyncratic vocabulary rooted in individual experience and symbolism. Labor, loss, memory, and motherhood seem to be suggested, but the presentations are neither linear nor obvious; instead, the subtlety of Wilkes’s melancholic sensibility and her choice of materials invite close scrutiny. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Cathy Wilkes’s untitled installation at the Carnegie Museum of Art, 2011.
Montreal - Laura Santini: McCord Museum
by John K. Grande
Laura Santini’s recent installation, sited within an exhibition of Innu art, consisted of a polar bear made from oyster shells collected at Montreal seafood restaurants. The project began modestly enough as Santini brought home a bag or two from each restaurant visit. She wasn’t sure what would become of the shells, but the pile grew and grew, until her studio began to resemble an archaeological dig at an ancient Amerindian site, complete with shellfish midden. Santini’s shells, however, were decontextualized, displaced, and eventually given over to art. She used to gather shells around Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where her family spent the summers. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Laura Santini, XTINCT, 2011–12. Oyster shells, organic matter, metal net, wire, and wood, 84 x 290 x 244 cm.
Oshawa, Canada - Micah Lexier and Kelly Mark: Robert McLaughlin Gallery
by John K. Grande
Words, numbers, and signatures—the hallmarks of the art world as it is measured—formed the conceptual basis of this show pairing works by two Nova Scotia College of Art and Design graduates. Like the two television screens that face each other in The Kiss (Light Box) (2009), Micah Lexier and Kelly Mark are conceptual artists who complement each other brilliantly. For instance, Mark’s rubber stamps bear her signature, though they are scribed by friends and then reproduced. She uses these fakes to authenticate her work. Lexier’s signature stamps consist of 10 varied signings of his name printed as letterpress cards. For both artists, ideas of “work” and “fabrication” are embedded in their projects. Lexier’s Coin Piece (dentil, no dentil) (1997) plays on notions of value, particularly that of art. The machine-made coins have no markings on their heads or their tails. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Installation view with (left) Kelly Mark, The Kiss (Light Box), 2009, archival Durotrans print mounted into aluminum light box, 63.5 x 81.3 x 12.7 cm.; and (right) Micah Lexier, Two Ways to Make 2, 2000, white neon, 55.9 x 83.8 x 2.5 cm.
New Delhi - Jitish Kallat: Nature Morte Gallerye
by Chitra Balasubramaniam
Jitish Kallat draws on the energy of Mumbai to narrate the city’s story while creating a thought-provoking oasis where one can ponder various aspects of urban life. The title of his recent show, “Chlorophyll Park,” pays homage to the green pigment found in plants. Photo collages that combine everyday scenes with a verdant green grass make chaos seem almost restful. Kallat captures the nuances of life—the struggle underlying the calm, the fight to survive, the simple desire to live: “I look for deeper questions that lie at the very heart of our existence; in doing so, one might draw up associations, summon anecdotes, play with formal devices, metaphors, and evoke familiar daily experiences.” The large-scale sculpture Annexation takes the form of a beautifully crafted, humble kerosene stove, a fixture in millions of Indian households. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Jitish Kallat, One Hour, 2011–12. Cast concrete, 19 x 64 x 31 in.
Tel Aviv - “Roundabout: Face to Face”: Tel Aviv Museum of Art
by Angela Levine
Tel Aviv Museum of Art With artists from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and Israel, “Roundabout: Face to Face” could have been an unfocused presentation. But that was not the case. Portraits and figural scenes created a sense of unity, drawing together this exhibition of 60 works (with sculpture predominating) from the 200-piece contemporary art collection of David Teplitzky. All of the featured works dealt with similar topics: ideological, religious, or political perspectives, as well as the clash or merger of different cultures. A number of installations carried provocative messages that, in some instances, diminished their aesthetic value. Among the more successful was Reena Saini Kallat’s Plexiglas-enclosed portrait of an unidentified youth constructed from rubber stamps, each one bearing the name of one child among the thousands who go missing in India every year. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Tony Albert, A Collected History, 2010. Reworked objects, sculptures, and paintings, original paintings and drawings, and 3 works contributed by Vernon Ah Kee, Shane Cotton, and Arthur Panbegan Jr., 240 x 600 cm. Both from “Roundabout.”

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