John Yeon’s Quest for Beauty

John Yeon State Natural Area, photo courtesy Portland Art Museum

I’ve always been fascinated by architecture, as it is both a large scale form of sculpture, and a form of three-dimensional art that is mostly inaccessible to artists that can easily work in other mediums. But even among architects, there are those that take their work to a scale even larger, and begin to shape the landscape, as well as the interior spaces that humans like to inhabit. Continue reading

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Heaven, Wind (title) Boat-shaped flower basket (description), 2014. 66 x 17.5 x 34.5 cm.

The Gate, a floor-to-ceiling curviling tiger bamboo structure by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, rises up at The Met, its woven, brown-flecked flaxen limbs both hugging the floor and flying into the heavens.  It’s unlike any of the other ninety works on view at The Met. The flowing entrance spires signal a new era for bamboo design, craft, and sculpture. For one, this bamboo has been recycled ten times and was, for example, in a different configuration of rising braided arms at the Museé Guimet in Paris.   Continue reading

Fitting the Human Within Nature

Umbel Series, by Jenni Ward. Photo by Bill Bishoff, courtesy of UCSC Arboretum.

Nature is inspiration to many artists. But while natural form has inspired generations of artists, today many are finding source material not purely within the plants and animals, the leaves and seeds, flowers and rocks that we think of immediately when we consider the definition of “nature.” More and more commonly, artists are drawn to the juxtaposition between the natural world and the human world. Continue reading

John Bock: In the Moloch of the Presence of Being

John Bock Sculpture

Da-Dings-Da ist im Groß-Da da weil der Wurm im Moby Dick wohnt, 2014, Video, 25 Min.,
© John Bock, Courtesy Sprüth Magers

I first encountered the work of German artist John Bock in August 2010 at the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin. [1] As the name suggests, the gallery was a temporary initiative that ran for two years (September 2008 through August 2010), situated in the centre of the city next to Museum Island.   For their last show Bock had been commissioned to curate a mammoth exhibition featuring the work of 65 artists, all combined into an immersive installation across multiple levels. The promotional poster for the exhibition (which I still have a copy of safely rolled up in my closet) is probably a good indication of what the audience encountered when they set foot in the gallery – and to some extent, is perhaps indicative of the kind of imagery that Bock has become synonymous with. Continue reading

Chicago Goes Pop

In 2015, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson (husband and wife) donated over $400 million worth of art to the Art Institute of Chicago.  It would be the largest bequest in the institution’s history.  As of December, this massive addition to the permanent collection is now on permanent view in a suite of galleries in the museum’s contemporary wing, an airy, rectilinear space designed by Pritzker-winning Renzo Piano.  The 44-piece collection is a veritable who’s-who of postwar art, with a particular emphasis on all things Pop. Continue reading

Nested Transmuter Cycle: A Boulder into the Pond

Installation view, Nested Trasmuter Cycle, by MSHR. Courtesy of Interstitial.

I often feel that time is an unspoken quality of sculptural work. Of course, time is inescapable, and so any sculpture that we view must occur over time. The time we spend looking at the work, the time it takes to walk around the sculpture to see it from all angles, the time to sculpt it, which is inscribed in its surface and structure. Time does not stop affecting a work of sculpture, either. Eventually, any material crumbles to dust. Every solid substance is secretly in motion, whether changing form, decomposing away, or slowly moving through space, even as it adheres to the surface of our spinning planet. Continue reading

A World View: John Latham

John Latham Sculpture

A World View: John Latham; Time Base Roller, 1972, Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (1 March 2017 – 21 May 2017) Image © Luke Hayes

John Latham is generally considered to be a pioneering voice in British conceptual art. Born in what was Livingston, Northern Rhodesia (now Maramba, Zambia), he later studied in London at Regent Street Polytechnic and then Chelsea College of Art and Design. Over the last couple of years, his work has cropped up in several significant international exhibitions both in the UK and abroad, including the Conceptual Art in Britain 1964–1979 at Tate Britain during the middle of last year. In recognition of both his own innovative body of work, and also his vast influence on later generations of artists, the Serpentine galleries are now showing two concurrent exhibitions dedicated to Latham in Hyde Park, London.   Continue reading