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
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
I tend to prefer abstract sculpture— however, even in more representative work, there is plenty of abstractness to find and appreciate. Take the Rodin exhibition currently at the Portland Art Museum. Subtitled “The Human Experience,” the exhibition certainly showcases the representational aspects of Auguste Rodin’s masterful bronze works. The 52 bronzes in the show are almost entirely of human forms, and are curated so that the viewer learns about the process by which the sculptor produced the works both in detail and at scale. In re-using aspects of previous works, Rodin allowed particular characteristics of the human form to span across his oeuvre, and the viewer can immediately sense these pieces of humanity— hands, torsos, heads, limbs— extending throughout the gallery, like memories or ghosts of the many models that the artist employed to create these testaments to the human form. Continue reading
Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s coral reef crocheted project has been shown all over the world, but the current exhibition of their work and that of their many worldwide collaborators at Museum of Art and Design’s Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas show is one of the best that I’ve seen. Continue reading
It’s easy to think of sculpture as art in three dimensions. But at root, sculpture is about space.
Walking into the Center for Contemporary Native Art gallery at the Portland Art Museum to see the Salish weaving show Restoring the Breath— Sacred Relationship, I wasn’t immediately struck by the use of space in the way that I would be at a more traditional exhibition of sculpture. And yet, the space is in the room. Continue reading