Dark Matter and Missing Mass: Allyson Mitchell

Allyson Mitchell, Ladies Sasquatch

Okay, so I start, at the titular level, with a cosmological reference: the idea of the missing mass in the universe, that those all-important galaxies strewn throughout the cosmos (and within one of which we exist) don’t seem to contain enough mass to account for galactic rotation. Herein was born the idea of “dark matter.” Continue reading

Phenomena: Cédric Ginart

Cedric Ginart, Molecular, 2013

Think of glass in a sculptural context and, well, it’s likely that the first (if not only) artist who comes to mind is Dale Chihuly.

Glass, it seems, has a bit of a perception problem. Either it’s showy sculptural installation of the Chihuly sort, or it’s the functional stuff of everyday, domestic use (within which I include the showier utilitarian stuff). Glass is a bit either/or that way, despite the best efforts of contemporary artists seeking to expand its presence, to bridge the fecund middle ground between the utile at one end of the spectrum and the ornamental at the other. So what’s an artist to do? Continue reading

Figuration (cont’d): Kathy Venter and Evan Penny

Evan Penny, Self Portrait after Gericault’s Fragments Anatomiques, 2017, pigmented silicon, fabric, resin, 57 x 78 x 18 in.

When last we spoke about what I’ve been calling “figuration ” – the aesthetic drive towards representing the living, breathing organisms that populate this here planet (even if only in our fevered imaginations – I’d introduced work that tended towards the smaller scale, towards sculptures that referenced figurines, addressing issues raised by such mass-produced items of collectible nostalgia, like Hummel or Royal Doulton figurines, or the even smaller stuff that once came with the tea bags we purchased. Continue reading

Robin Peck: The Heads of the Town Up to the Aether

Robin Peck Sculpture

Robin Peck, Crania installation view, 2015, CANADA, New York

In an earlier blog posting, I wrote about the “school” of 1:1 sculpture as it had manifested itself in the work of some faculty and students at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax. Amongst the names was one artist whose work I didn’t discuss at any great length because in some ways it stood apart, despite having been extremely influential in the goings-on at the aesthetic hothouse that was the sculpture department of the period: Robin Peck. Continue reading

Ilan Sandler: Big, Precisely

Ilan Sandler Sculpture

Ilan Sandler, Double Storey, 2003.

I first encountered the work of Canadian artist Ilan Sandler in the summer of 2004. By “encountered,” I mean the experiential thing, not the second-hand meeting of a sculptor’s work – the mere seeing of it – in an image. This is an important distinction at so many levels, but for me it had to do with a meaningful encounter with scale. With big. Continue reading

High Fidelity

Marc Courtemanche sculpture

Marc Courtemanche, Toolbox of Tools (detail), 2010, stoneware and metal, to scale

There is, as a lot of people might remember from their art history classes, the renowned story related by the Greek writer Pliny the Elder concerning the artist Zeuxis, and of the claim that his painted representation of grapes achieved such fidelity to their subject matter that the birds attempted to eat them. Continue reading