Two Views of Sculpture

Thursday evening was the opening reception for the Northeast Florida Sculptors show at the University of North Florida. I was very pleased to have two of my pieces, “Monopus” and “Pierced” in the show.

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This show had a lot of interest from local sculptors with 85 pieces submitted by 35 artists. It was also very positive to see a number of new artists getting involved in this show.

It was a great turnout for the opening reception and I was pleased to see so many UNF students attending. It turns out that some of the art students had a homework assignment to come to the show and write up something about the pieces. One of the other sculptors told me a lot of the students were writing about “Pierced”, so I asked one of them about their assignment. She told me that the assignment was to write about pieces that fit into certain categories. She said that one of the categories was geometric shapes, which was why “Pierced” was so popular, since it was one of the most blatantly geometric in design.

A lot of my friends and some new sculptors to me were also in the show. I always love the flowing forms of Dave Engdahl.

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Mindy Hawkins always adds some whimsy with her gourd work…

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… and a beautiful, traditional bronze by Nancy Holt Justus.

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However, there were some new pieces that I really liked. Michael Cottrell did the first 3D printed sculpture I’ve seen in a show.

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Brian Frus also did one of his great glass pieces.

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I also really liked this stainless steel piece by Jason Haas

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and a great steampunk balloon by Ricky Weeks

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There are a lot of other pieces there and I hope a lot of people make it to the show, which runs through October 16th.

And now on to something completely different…

Friday we went to another sculpture show opening. This one was at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and was called “Smoke and Mirrors”. Here is the MOCA blurb about the show:

“Often striking and ambiguous, at times both alluring and strange, the complex sculptures in Smoke and Mirrors: Sculpture and the Imaginary explore the art of illusion at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural resource of the University of North Florida. Blurring the line between reality and fiction, the six national and international sculptors—Chul Hyun Ahn, James Clar, Patrick Jacobs, Ken Matsubara, Daniel Rozin, and Kathleen Vance—employ a variety of indiscernible techniques and mystifying illusionistic effects to accomplish levels of deception. As one peers into tunnels, portals, glasses, and suitcases, the outwardly literal representations are transformed into mindboggling artificial realities. Though often simple in material—mirrors, lights, videos, and even stuffed animals—our perception of the object and its construction are now in question”

Illusion was really the key for me. The first thing you see when entering the show if a flock of penguins. The fact that they are all moving makes you think it is a clever installation, but then you realize something special. As patrons are moving to view the penguins, the movement of the group changes to mimic the movements of the viewer. That was the real surprise for me.

This and several other similarly interactive pieces were done by David Rozeneal, an Israeli-American artist. I really liked the moving segments in the triangle that would copy your shape, when it wasn’t in it’s very active screen saver mode.

There were several other nature themed pieces. One by Kathleen Vance, called “Rogue Stream” ran the length of two walls and had water running in it with no visible source or return.

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Another of her pieces was “Travelling Landscape”

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Patrick Jacobs did the other nature themed work. One of his pieces, “Two Stinkhorns with Log” brought in illusion by having you view the piece through small, 2″ portholes in the wall. You’d have no idea that there was as detailed content available since the port was so small.

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There were some pieces that presented their illusion through mirrors. Korean, Chul Hyun Ahn made you think that his railroad tracks went on a lot farther than their 4′ deep box would allow.

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He had another piece where you were looking down into a sort of elevator shaft that looked deep enough to give you vertigo, although it was only a couple of feet deep.

James Clar used video to give you the impression that you were is a rare Florida snowstorm.

One sculpture that really captured me was Ken Matsubara’s “Round Chair” series. When you walk into the gallery you see seven stools with glasses of water on them and think of it as another room sized installation.

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However, you quickly realize that it’s more than meets the eye. If you look down into the glasses you see that each has a small video playing in the bottom of the glass. Sometimes they are more abstract and sometimes a little family nostalgia.

However, I’m not really sure the glasses on the stools was the artwork. I have to think that just as important was watching a room full of people interact with the moving images in the glass. Watching people stare so intently and moving from glass to glass to catch the story.

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Two very different presentations of sculpture in these two shows. This makes me believe that there are as many different perceptions of sculptures as there are different shows.

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