Joel Perlman gives the phrase "industrial revolution" new meaning in his recent metal sculptures. His raw metal forms revolve in space. Circular shapes propel forward, like the charging wheels of a runaway locomotive; they spiral upwards, like a twister hitting a scrap yard . We stand back from these works, afraid of being smacked in the head by the flying debris. Then, we are drawn back in by their surfaces, rich with the craftsman's elbow grease.
Perlman has been creating complex sculptures out of steel, bronze, and aluminum since the early 1970's. While minimalism was the predominant style of his genration, Perlman chose to push his forms into ever-more complicated, gravity defying, configurations. Though he shares certain qualities with his peers - the thrill of danger in a Richard Serra, the blue-collar heroism of Mark diSuervo - Perlman always investigates with originality. He expands, rather than appropriates, enriching our experience with industrial materials.
It took three decades for Perlman to pick up a circle, a shape he always believed too perfect to use. Its deliberate addition pumps unexpected motion and energy into his sculptures. Even his more modest scale pieces, roosting atop pedestals, have the buzz of machinery, hard at work. They recall the collages and maquettes of Vladimir Tatlin and the Russian Constructivists, who like Perlman, admired the creative ingenuity of industry, without imitating the deadening appearance of automation.
Up close, we can see Perlman's craftmanship; his oversize connection welds are left exposed. Yet, the source of propulsion remains a mystery. How can such inflexible weight appear to fling itself through the air?
These revolutions-in-steel succeed precisely because of the artist's craft. they are handmade, not ready-made. They remind us of a time when men, not machines, made even industrial enviornments. we recall the era of foundries and furnaces, of shipyards and iron works. And, next time we cross the Brooklyn Bridge and stare in awe of its cables and girders, we remember, yes, that it too was made by hand. - Barbara Pollack
Joel Perlman has been creating metal sculptures for more than thirty years. The angular and circular elements are welded or cast in a way that recalls the early constructivist, and the formalist tradition continues.
Perlman exhibited at the Andre Emmerich Gallery for twenty-five years and is now represented by the Kouros Gallery. He is represented in museums throughout the world including, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., The Storm King Art Center, and The Utsukushi-Ga-Hara Open Air Museum , Japan.
1943 Born New York City
1964-6 Central School of Art, London
1965 Cornell University, B.F.A.
1967 University of California, Berkeley, M.A.
1973-1998 Represented by Andre Emmerich Gallery
1973-Present Instructor School of Visual Arts
1974 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship
1977-1996 Council of advisors, Cornell University, College of Architecture
1979 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
1980 Commission for the Winter Olympics, Lake Placid
1988 R.S. Reynolds Aluminum Award for sculpture
1995 Awarded the special prize, Fujisankei Biennale, Japan
1996 Commission for Tenneco world Headquarters
1998 Elected Cornell University Council
1969 Axiom Gallery, London
1979 Bennington College, Vermont
1973, '76, '80, '82, '85, '87, '93 Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York
1977 Gallerie Andre Emmerich, Zurich
1977 Gallerie Pudelko, Bonn
1978, '81, '88, '96 Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago
1980, '83, '86 Roy Boyd Gallery, Los Angeles
1983, '89, '90 Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami
1990 Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell
1991 Samuel P. Harn museum, University of Florida
1993 Eve Mannes Gallery, Atlanta
1994 Margulies-Taplin Gallery, Lyons Gallery, Florida
1994, '95 Lyons Gallery Florida
1996 Century Association, New York City
1996 Glenn Horowitz Gallery, East Hampton
1999 -2000 Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago, IL.
Group Exhibitions: (Selected)
1973 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennale
1977-Present Storm King Art Center
1978 "Art 9/78" Basel Switzerland
1982 "Mayor Byrne's mile of Sculpture", Chicago
1985-1998 Top Gallant Farm, Pawling, New York
1987 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
1991 and 1992 "Table Sculptures" Andre Emmerich Gallery
1992 Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago
1993 "Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture" American Embassy, Tel Aviv
1993-1998 Century Association, New York
1995 Fujinsankei Biennale, Japan
1996-Present Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio
1996-Present Socrates Sculpture Park, New York
1996-Present Grounds for Sculpture, Hamiltonm, New Jersey
1997-1998 Pier Walk, Navy Pier, Chicago
1998 Laurmeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, Missouri
1999 The Art Show(ADAA) - Linda Hyman Fine Arts, New York
Public Collections: (Selected)
Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT.
Bates College Museum, Lewiston, ME.
Grove Isle Sculpture Garden, FL.
Hakone Open-Air Museum, Japan
Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles County Museum, California
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, N.Y.