International Sculpture Center

   


March 2013
Vol. 31 No 4

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Helsinki - Tomás Saraceno:
Taidehalli (Kunsthalle)
by John Gayer
A walk through Tomás Saraceno’s recent large-scale museum exhibitions conveys the impression that we are witnessing the work of a man obsessed. Much like a researcher or inventor engaged in the development of some all-important proof or machine, Saraceno focuses on the claim that we can comprehend the structure of the universe through the spider’s web. Rather than hone in on a particular salient feature, however, his project tackles the subject from the broadest possible perspective. He develops life science experiments and employs model-making strategies, state-of-the-art scientific analysis, video, and performance in the production of work that effectively stands as a marriage of architecture, science, and art. Saraceno’s investigations include the use of computer tomography, research into spider habitats, and an involvement with the international art project Museo Aero Solar. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Tomás Saraceno, 14 Billions (Working Title) (detail), 2010/12. Approx. 3000 meters of polyester filament, 1500 screwhooks, and tube lights in purpose-built, 7-x-8-x-5-meter room.
Los Angeles - “Made in L.A.”: Hammer Museum
by Kathleen Whitney
“Made in L.A.,” the first biennial survey of Los Angeles-based artists, featured three artists making interesting sculpture—Liz Glynn, Caroline Thomas, and David Snyder. A sufficient amount of their work was on view to reveal their conceptual trajectories. Glynn’s collection of objects was dominated by two large wooden structures made primarily from recycled pallets. In the two-part Anonymous Needs and Desires (Gaza/Giza) (2012), a high wall doubles as a wide cabinet with colorful plywood drawers containing cast lead objects that can be removed and handled, while a plywood closet contains a dress and a tree branch. Passage (Giza/Gaza) (2012), a tall, tapering, hollow rhomboid, intersects a windowed, Sheetrock partition. Minus titles and wall text, this abstract, poetic aggregation offers no clue that it is “about” the 2011 Egyptian revolution. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Installation view of works by Liz Glynn, from “Made in L.A.,” 2012.
San Francisco - Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon:
Eli Ridgway Gallery
by Donna Schumacher
Though Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon’s exhibition “No Touch” explored the interrelationship of space and sound, it was the translation of sound into visually beautiful, “fine art” objects that acted as the siren’s call, luring us in for a closer look and listen. Stepping off the hustle and bustle of Minna Street, viewers entered the quiet of the lobby, which has become an important transition space in which gallery owner Eli Ridgway orchestrates a program of rotating installations. The narrow hallway, with its dark reverberant flooring leads to a storefront, aluminum frame door, which, for Gordon’s show, opened to reveal her first installation, Untitled (Fantasy II). At the center stood an object with all the telltale signs of an abstract sculpture—angular lines, larger-than-human size, simple, non-decorative forms—but rendered in the stuff of a suburban corporate interior: acoustic foam, felt, and wood. Two speakers, pointed toward opposite sides of the object, played an array of popular music, though no one was listening. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, installation view of “No Touch,” with Untitled (Fantasy II), 2012; foam, felt, cotton, wood, ultrasonic speakers, mp3, and speaker stands, dimensions variable.
San Francisco - David Middlebrook:
The McLoughlin Gallery
by DeWitt Cheng
Wood, stone, and metal may have been supplanted by newer materials (e.g., chocolate, tofu, and frozen blood), but some artists enjoy both the technical and aesthetic challenges of traditional, “noble” materials. David Middlebrook, who emerged on the Bay Area gallery scene only relatively recently—with a 2010 retrospective at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara and now this solo show—has had a long career making public sculpture and teaching (at San Jose State University), so he’s well versed in both technique and theory. The 18 sculptures featured in “Think Things,” generally cairn-like stacks of objects (or fragments of objects) rendered in permanent and often unlikely materials, confirm his self-assessment as “a thingmaker who thinks.” Technical expertise and virtuosic craftsmanship please (and fool) the eye; art history, political commentary, and absurdist humor please (and fool) the brain. Middlebrook’s socio-political Surrealism renders palatable a number of unappetizing issues that humanity chooses to push around the agenda plates.
...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

David Middlebrook, 99%, 2012. Clay-infused resin and gold-plated bronze, 21 x 22 x 22 in
Lincoln, Massachusetts - Gary Webb:
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
by Marty Carlock
Slick, colorful, playful, and without a cohesive aesthetic, Gary Webb’s work has yet to settle on a recognizable style—he’s having too much fun. A carnival atmosphere pervaded his recent show, “Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans,” with nursery-school hues and shapes bending, arching, and trying to fly off in all directions. Just when we thought we had a handle on Webb’s style, we encountered Goolie Goolie Split, a mosaic wall of mirrors almost 30 feet long that brought to mind a similar work at Logan Airport, or Dorset Knob, a large-scale panel of brick carved into an enigmatic bas-relief representing a pair of arches, the hint of a face with unruly hair, and a cluster of complicated small forms. Webb constructs most of his work from molded or cast aluminum painted in primary colors to look like plastic, generally combined with consumer-friendly materials like stainless steel, glass, chrome, mirrors, brass, and resins. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Installation view of “Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans,” 2012.
New York - Pier Paolo Calzolari:
Marianne Boesky Gallery and The Pace Gallery
by Michaël Amy
Pier Paolo Calzolari, like Arte Povera (the movement with which he is associated), is insufficiently valued in the U.S. Some critics deem the Italian movement—with its emphasis on base materials and their interactions—hokey and pompous, a preferably forgotten chapter in the history of postwar art. But at its best, Arte Povera has produced some of the most gripping art of the past half-century, and Calzolari’s strongest works would stand their ground in the finest collections of contemporary art. If you embrace the cold, cerebral, and doctrinaire aesthetic of Judd at the expense of all else, then Arte Povera will seem both rhetorical and lacking in purity. If you have a taste for Rauschenberg’s image-riddled “Combines” and their progeny, Arte Povera will seem inadequate to the task of handling contemporary life, and, therefore, inauthentic. However, Rauschenberg’s magical handling of materials, his seemingly boundless powers of invention, and his early monochrome pictures inspired Calzolari, as did, I would argue, the work of Alberto Burri and of Joseph Beuys. ...see the entire review in the print version of March'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 - Arianna Carossa: NURTUREart
by Jonathan Goodman
Emerging Italian sculptor Arianna Carossa recently presented a body of work based on the Greek myth of the Argo, the ship that carried Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. Capable of prophecy, the Argo played a genuine role in the legend, which has been carried across time (it is mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy). Carossa’s sculptures subtly allude to the story, although, in most cases, the references prove ethereal and distanced from their origins. Nonetheless, we are made aware of a context that links one work to the next, even when we are not entirely sure of the story’s specific details. Like many sculptors working today, Carossa makes art that is disparate in its thematic attention and its materials. Sometimes her terms are violent: Mars, The Unreachable (2012) consists of six paperback copies of Homer’s Odyssey in Italian, each book rendered useless because it has been cut in half. It is a stance perhaps antagonistic to scholarship, which she may see as putting analytical constraints on the story. Carossa also wreaks havoc with rearrangeable wooden sculptures. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Arianna Carossa, Mars, the Unreachable, 2012. Books, 13 x 11 x 6 in.
New York - Carlito Carvalhosa: Sonnabend Gallery
by Elaine A. King
Carlito Carvalhosa was born in São Paulo, studied at the University of São Paulo’s Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, and lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. His unorthodox and visionary fabrications suggest an acute knowledge of architecture and spatial interaction, while his handling of light and space is concurrently an act of camouflage and disclosure. Working in the same Minimalist tradition that characterized Sum of Days (2011), shown at the Museum of Modern Art, he continues to engage viewers with his transformative environments. A quiet mode of transcendence permeated these two recent installations in which light, cloth, fluorescent tubing, aluminum panels, and sound created situations of real and illusory space. On entering the gallery, one stepped into a labyrinth of flowing, gossamer-like fabric arranged in narrow rows of parallel tapered pathways. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Carlito Carvalhosa, Shift, 2012. Fluorescent lights, fabric, and aluminum panels, detail of installation.
Toronto - Greg Payce: Gardiner Museum
by Gil McElroy
The work of Greg Payce may be framed within and by the medium of ceramics, but unlike, say, the work of a ceramic sculptor like Peter Voulkos, Payce’s aesthetic has less to do with a focus on the merits of the medium itself and virtually everything to do with exploring the inversion of the figure-ground relationship. This recent retrospective may have been mounted on the basis of Payce’s impressive clay credentials, but the medium was in no way the primary message. At first glance, Payce’s ceramics appear fairly conventional: wheel-thrown vessels ranging from small, hand-held objects to large, floor-based works. But the figures shaped by these artifacts aren’t of primary significance; instead, the space between them becomes of consequence, for Payce is committed to giving voice to the negative....see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Greg Payce, Albedo Lux: Europa (detail), 2009. Video projection on rotating ceramic forms, dimensions variable.
Genk, Belgium - Manifesta 9: Waterschei
by Olga Stefan
The Waterschei, a former mining complex building in Genk, Belgium, is a wonderful relic and an impressive piece of Art Nouveau architecture that feels more like a sculpture than a building. The space is pregnant with the history of Limburg—a region that, between 1901 when Andre Dumont discovered coal and 1986 when the last mine closed, was synonymous with the coal industry in Belgium. The area has since reinvented itself, attracting other industries, specifically auto manufacturing and the cultural and tourism sectors. But Genk cannot escape the shadow of its past, and luckily Manifesta, the roving European biennial that used the Waterschei as the only site for its ninth installment, didn’t want to ignore it either. Seamlessly integrated into the theme “The Deep of the Modern,” multiple issues associated with the impact of coal in local and global contexts were dealt with both directly and indirectly in three separate exhibition sections. The first part of the show, and the one flocked to by art aficionados, was the contemporary art section featuring 39, mostly lesser-known, international artists—a refreshing alternative to the usual suspects on the international circuit. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Carlos Amorales, Coal Drawing Machine, 2012. Plotter printer, paper banners, charcoal, steel, and epoxy paint, dimensions variable
Dublin - Brian Duggan:
RUA RED, South Dublin Arts Center
by John Gayer
A simplified, skinless, and scaled-down model of a zeppelin hovered in the upper register of RUA RED’S voluminous exhibition space. Confronted by enshrouding darkness and strains of sinister music, most viewers failed to notice its presence. Busy studying the walls of a maze that occluded vision and delimited movement, they found that they had to choose from four points of entry. Whereas two paths led directly into the maze, the other routes seemed to trace its periphery. Yellowy-green bulbs mounted atop the walls of the makeshift labyrinth provided the only illumination. Their hue and weak glow only enhanced the eerie character of the music. But uncertainty soon dissipated, as exploration ultimately turned into a voyage of discovery laced with astonishing vistas and deadly conclusions. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Brian Duggan, I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths, 2012. Wood, lights, cable, pipe, fittings, cable ties, glue, projector, 5 DVDs, 2 televisions, 2 mini-screens, and sound, dimensions variable.
Nottingham, U.K. - Francis Upritchard: Nottingham Contemporary
by Basia Sliwinska
When I entered Francis Upritchard’s recent exhibition, I was puzzled at first. Two spacious galleries were filled with eccentric, fantastical figures placed on plinths designed by Martino Gamper. In the first room, white, terra-cotta, brown, and gray creatures wearing medieval clothes looked as though they had been unearthed from the past. Were they fighters? Soldiers? Robin Hoods? The second room was inhabited by colorful figures that might have been acrobats, or saints, or maybe shamans. These peculiar humans, their faces distorted in contemplation, stood in awkward postures as though caught in the middle of action. With their eyes either closed or looking away, they made me feel uneasy. Who were they? Where did they come from? There was something magical and mysterious about them. Though Upritchard referenced particular historic details, this was not a historical display. Upritchard, who represented New Zealand at the 2009 Venice Biennale, is currently based in London, and this show marked her first solo exhibition in the U.K. ...see the entire review in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.

Francis Upritchard, Point, Run, and Archer, 2012. Modeling material, wire, fabric, and mixed media, dimensions variable.

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