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A WALK THROUGH THE GALLERIES, PART II | Thu. Jun. 4, 2015
Last week we “walked” through the main gallery space and discussed Alyson Shotz’s larger works in the Force of Nature exhibition. This week, we will move to the smaller of the Halsey Institute’s galleries and examine Shotz’s other pieces.
BLACK FOLDS (1-9)
These pieces made of painted aluminum sheets. They are inspired by an intimate series of paper works created in collaboration with the paper studio workshop Dieu Donné in New York City in 2014. They have an appearance similar to folded paper, although they are created out of the less forgiving medium of aluminum. Referencing Shotz’s interest in origami and folding, the works appear effortless but in actuality are carefully composed. The variety of shapes reveals the range of possible results from the simple acts of folding, creasing, and crumpling.
© Flint Hahn
SEQUENT I and II
Shotz often works serially, as evidenced both in her sculptures and in these two groups of aquatint prints with collagraph embossing made with Crown Point Press. Folded forms that have the appearance of flattened origami shapes seem to be embedded in the surface of the print, the embossing effect created through a collagraphic process. Colors of varying hue and value describe the order in which each fold was made in the composition.
( left: collagraphic embossing by Amy Twigger Holroyd, right: b.z. reily )
RECUMBENT FOLDS, #33-#36
The inspiration for this body of unglazed porcelain works came from Shotz’s frequent visits to Japan in 2009, when she was commissioned to create a site-specific work for Louis Vuitton in Kobe. Recumbent Folds exhibits Shotz’s ongoing interest in the integration of elements of chance. To produce the works, the artist created cylindrical forms and then dropped them from various heights. Shotz notes of the process, “gravity plus the specific material properties of the porcelain, the thickness of the slab, how wet or dry it is, the humidity in the air, the force with which I drop it—all collaborate to create the shape.”
( Shotz’s A Curve in Space and Time installed at the Kobe, Japan Louis Vuitton store. )
Much like White Fold, this series of prints plays with the relationship between illusionism and two- and three-dimensional space. Shotz created the works by crumpling a large sheet of white Japanese Masa paper, then flattening and photographing it. She then printed that image on a new piece of paper of exactly the same size and type, and, again, crumpled the new print. The final pieces are both photographs and sculptures, and it is difficult—at times even impossible—to discern the difference between the printed creases and the physical ones. Evocative of the surface of the Moon and topographical maps, these works possess both a graphic and terrain-like quality.
( topographic map example )
( An image of the Moon’s surface, translated from a sphere into a flattened rectangle. )
Imaginary Sculptures, a series of enamel on steel plaques with bits of script, asks us to consider a sculpture that is, for example, “made of wind,” “elastic in the middle,” or “of a half open garage door,” thus evoking a range of possible forms. Some of the works are impossible to realize, and others conjure up such fantastical imagery that any physical manifestation would disappoint. Presented as simple signs, the suggestions are intended to spark the audience’s imagination. According to Shotz, the main concept behind this project is that “All art exists in the imagination first and maybe even last. First it exists as an idea in the mind of the artist, and last, as a memory of that object in the mind of the viewer.”
Expanding the exhibition beyond the Halsey Institute galleries and into the Cato Center’s Hill Gallery, Shotz has created a band of vinyl decals that produce the effect of etched glass. The delicate etchings are comprised of forms resembling ovals in rotation. This installation will be on long-term view. The shadows on the floor created by the design are best seen in the afternoon light!
( original plan for the window vinyl decals )
By Lizz Biswell, curator of education and public programs