The Fast Look

sculpture

Chrysler Imperial Model CV Airflow Coupe, 1934. Photo: Peter Harholdt.
Courtesy of Miles Collier Collections @ the Revs Institute.

In 1909, at a time when automobiles were just starting to gain traction as a technology in society, an Italian poet named F. T. Marinetti penned “The Futurist Manifesto,” which recounts the excitement of a car accident as allegory to inspire a generation of artists to embrace the aesthetics of technology. And in turn, these artists inspired designers, architects, critics, engineers, and even politicians with their language of speed, danger, and mythological struggle. Thirty years later, the European continent was entering its second catastrophic war. Futurism didn’t survive these real-world dangers (and many of the Futurists themselves did not survive it, either). But the aesthetics of speed were already tied in to the shape and feel of our technology. Continue reading

Landscapes in the Air

sculpture

Installation view of Spencer Finch: The Western Mystery at the Olympic Sculpture Park. © Seattle Art Museum, Photo: Mark Woods.

When we think of representations of landscapes in art, the first thing that comes to mind might be the rich history of landscape painting. Developing in  the Egyptian, Roman, and Chinese traditions, landscape painting developed techniques of perspective, as well as idealistic concepts of nature— often focusing on the lack of humans, or at least minimal evidence of their existence in the works, in contrast to the “pure nature” of the landscape image. Continue reading

Body Sculpting

sculpture

Installation View, Bespoke.

Additive manufacturing technologies, often called 3D printing, don’t necessarily change sculpting as much as they do our understanding of the sculpting process. As bespoke processes of creation involved into what we now know as industrial manufacturing, a pivotal feature of the newly produced objects were that they were more closely identical, that is, mass produced in replication of an ideal object. Previously, objects like cookware, machinery, and even dwellings were certainly mass produced, but each individual object had variations and inconsistencies that showed the fingerprints of the individual builders. Continue reading

Just Blue Things

Portia Munson’s “FLOOD” images courtesy of Disjecta.

A wave of objects inhabited the gallery in Portia Munson’s Flood, at the Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center. Mostly plastic, some metal, others paper, and yet still others, constructed from material that is harder to parse. But all of them, blue. They were blue things. In their unevenness, their jumbled edges, stacked and piled together, in their mass and totality, they were blue. Continue reading

Between Physical and Digital

sculpture

Set dresser Matt Brooks makes landscapes from found fabrics in Kubo’s cemetery set.KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS ©2016, TWO STRINGS, LLC

In the shadows of the far side of the cavernous space, are rows of faces. Or more precisely, rows of a face. One row of twenty-four tiny faces, formed in plastic by a 3D printer, becomes one face. Each photographed, then pulsed together in a burst of twenty-four frames per second, becomes a single second of film— the illusion of motion depicted in moving light projected onto a screen. Viewed as if pulled back from that film-to-be, the faces on the wall appear as moments frozen in time. The smallest syllables of spoken words, hanging on the small, painted lips of the characters. The subtle topologies of facial expressions, caught in a stasis, so that we might examine them. But they are not moments. Those moments never existed. Continue reading

Through the Orbit of Furniture

sculpture

Installation photos of APEX: Dawn Cerny, copyright Dawn Cerny, photos courtesy Portland Art Museum

I’m walking amongst a display of furniture— in a way. But these are not actual pieces of furniture. Their names often reference furniture: side table, biblelot cart, gray wardrobe, orange chair. But they do not appear to be useable pieces of furniture. They lean to the side, tower precariously, their uneven surfaces coming to drastic angles, not the usual orthogonal angles we are accustomed to from our household furnishings. Continue reading

The Shapes of Spaces

sculpture

Installation view, Chicago Works: Amanda Williams, MCA Chicago. July 18 – December 31, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Upon first glance, Amanda Williams’s Reliquary 1: To Unlearned People This May Seem to be Full of Nothing and Void of Humanity looks exactly as described in the title. Cut from sheets of plywood, the piece appears like a small house, constructed from panels painted white, and consisting mostly of void, where the wood has been removed. However, on closer examination, one can see that each sheet of plywood is actually a figure — the rectangular holes represent lots, the wood that remains represents streets, and the entire house is folded from the flat surface of a map. This is a house that has been built from a map of Englewood, a neighborhood in South Chicago. Continue reading