Magazine article Sculpture

Clinton, New York

Magazine article Sculpture

Clinton, New York

Article excerpt

Alyson Shotz

Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College

Brooklyn-based artist Alyson Shotz has long been fascinated by space and how objects occupy it. Her work investigates perception and how that perception is shaped through process, materials, and natural forces. Effortlessly interdisciplinary in their manifestation, Shotz's creations are founded on principles of math, science, and the humanities. But they also study sculptural form in a range of materials and guises, stretching the term to accommodate contemporary ideas of permeability and fluidity. In Shotz's realizations, the definition of sculpture becomes increasingly expansive-each project, often in series, testing another proposition, another possibility, another permutation, while ignoring conventional boundaries.

"Force of Nature," her most ambitious exhibition to date, featured several newly commissioned pieces, including a sequence of vinyl decals pressed onto the upper register of the 27-foot-high glass display cases flanking the Wellin's central staircase. A long-term installation, the decals appear to be etched into the glass and depict two kinds of progressions: one formal and logical, the other more complex and entropic. This same dialectic was evident throughout the show.

A glittering, gossamer web, Invariant Interval (2013), encircled a space in the main gallery, shaping form through the use of line and void rather than the mass that has historically defined sculpture, confusing positive and negative volumes, interior and exterior. This drawing in the air was further disembodied by the changing light as it reflected off tiny glass beads strung on the silvery wire: form appeared, then disappeared.

Imaginary Sculptures (2014) consists of a number of white enameled wall plaques inscribed with haikulike imperatives asking viewers to visualize a "sculpture that is a pile of leaves blown against a car," "...sits on the surface of your skin," "...expands and contracts slowly," and so on, letting the work bloom in the mind. The equally ephemeral, finely reticulated White Fold (2014), another site-specific wall installation, stretched for 50 feet. Executed with the help of four Hamilton College graduate students, this "drawing" was made of white linen thread wrapped around tiny nail heads, its sinuous composition created by Shotz and the animation program Maya. …

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