Magazine article Sculpture

OAKLAND: Cyrus Tilton

Magazine article Sculpture

OAKLAND: Cyrus Tilton

Article excerpt


Cyrus Tilton

Vessel Gallery

This is Cyrus Tilton's fourth exhibi- tion at a gallery near downtown Oakland, part of a recent burst of art activity that started there in 2006, when a few storefronts began to display artworks. Now, nearly 30 galleries and mixed-use venues show works by young artists; there are art walks on Saturdays, and on first Fridays, busy Telegraph Avenue is closed to traffic, food trucks appear, and the place becomes an art party. It's a bit like the East Village in the '70s or Venice Beach without the beach.

Tilton grew up in the Alaskan wil- derness near Anchorage, and nature remains primary in his work. A pre- vious show, called "The Cycle," fea- tured works using the locust as a metaphor for problems of overpopu- lation and conspicuous consumption. The innovative installation consisted of hundreds of kinetic locusts with whirring wings.

André Breton is reported to have called on painters and poets to "Surprise me!" "Absence," Tilton's recent show, assembled a range of surprises. Suggesting Magritte's paintings with a 21st-century aes- thetic, these sculptures form fantas- tic equivocations, prompted by the mysteries of life. High Hopes (2010), for instance, consists of the headless body of a horse rendered in cement-Tilton welcoming the chal- lenge to mold the quick-setting substance before it dried. A steel armature rising from what was once the back of the impaired creature holds a section of earth, which in turn, supports several slender steel trees. Like Brancusi, Tilton considers his bases, including the square, trans- parent pedestal for High Hopes, as essential parts of the works. …

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