Magazine article Sculpture

LINCOLN, MASSACHUSETTS: Tony Feher

Magazine article Sculpture

LINCOLN, MASSACHUSETTS: Tony Feher

Article excerpt

deCordova Museum

Describe a plastic bottle. What are the first adjectives that come to mind? Maybe fragile, ephemeral, unattractive. We are so used to seeing these disposable objects transit quickly through our homes that we fail to consider their long life after the trashcan. As a matter of fact, plastic bottles are resistant and dura - ble. According to Tony Feher, they are also beautiful. He collects them, along with a number of other everyday items such as marbles, glass jars, and cardboard boxes. These objects inhabit his space, and he observes them over time, charmed by how they respond to light and how they behave when they are stacked or displayed in repetitive patterns.

Entering Feher's retrospective at the deCordova Museum, viewers were immediately introduced to a sample of his collection. Apparently insignificant items were displayed on tables, shelves, cases, and even on the floor. Their formal qualities- patterns and colors-became immediately apparent, as volumes and reflections revealed inherent harmonies. Untitled (1987) is a common glass jar filled with red marbles. Light filters through the glass to design ever-changing drawings on the walls. With this piece, Feher moved beyond painting to experiment with the language of the readymade. The forms that he was trying to re-create on canvas were already available to him in the real world. He just needed to look for them.

Feher's interpretation of the ready - made is not strictly Duchampian, though. His work is not about decontextualizing manufactured objects to question ideas of craftsmanship and originality in art. Before landing in a gallery or museum, the elements of his sculptures are part of his daily environment. This degree of personal engagement with objects distances Feher from artists like Tony Cragg or Haim Steinbach, who began working with the same kinds of found objects at the same time. …

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