Fall/Winter 2012-2013 Exhibition Season
Opens October 20, 2012
Heaven, Hell and the History of Punch
Grounds For Sculpture is pleased to present the diverse and prolific work of acclaimed artist Robert Taplin. In the Museum exhibition, Taplin's three most recent and powerful series of work are shown together for the first time. In each series, Taplin re-imagines the classic narratives of mythology, allegory and poetry in dramatic settings that reference situations from the present day, revealing that these narratives have been, and perhaps will always be, in evidence throughout human history. The content of Robert Taplin's sculptural series may challenge us, but they also enlighten us. They are powerfully engaging and highly evocative works that provide us with new perspectives on the turbulent times in which we live.
The Five Outer Planets
The figures of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are unsentimentally envisioned by Taplin as stout, middle-aged men, distinguised only by select physical attributes of their mythological conterparts. These Greco-Roman gods are associated with the sky, storms, thunder, lightening, and earthquakes, and their story is brimming with the excesses of male power. As Taplin states, "The five figures from a family group (grandfather, father, three sons) in which the physical characteristics of the actual planets are crossbred with the brutal, mythological narrative implied by their names." The artist has created each planet/god as a conjoined pair, one in dark, opaque plaster and the other in translucent fiberglass resin, illuminated from within. The doubled figures are arranged in a way that approximates the relative positions and proportions of the planets and create a compelling choreographed tension of dualities - standing, hovering, floating or tumbling - throughout space.
Everything Imagined is Real (After Dante)
Taplin re-imagines the hell of 14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri's Inferno in nine sculptural tableaux - two of which are presented as freestanding pedestals with figural sculptures arranged in narrative scenes at the top, and seven of which are dioramas built into large, black cabinets. The dioramas are like stage settings, with dramatic, atmospheric lighting. They control our perspective on the scenes which, paralleling Dante's circles of hell, become increasingly distressful and desolate. Taplin bases them on contemporary scenarios familiar to us through mass media and uses an accessible form of realism. Unlike Dante's conception, there are no supernatural beings here, only human beings. Taplin sees the disenfranchised and debilitated segments of society as those that are confined to the circles of hell - not there as a result of their own actions but as a result of the actions of others.
The History of Punch
The beak-nosed hunchback Punch is rooted deeply in European folklore as a character who not only has a lazy, lecherous, and mischievous nature, but also has an alternating comic and tragic persona. Taplin delicately models the small Punch figures and casts them in a slightly translucent, porcelain-like resin. Their charming appearance, however, sharply contrasts with their content. In several pieces, Punch is presented as an adolescent whose odd appearance seems jarringly out of place. In the adult Punch sculptures, Taplin either stages him in scenes recognizable from the news media or presents him as an instigator of atrocious acts, both of which refer to present day situations.
International Sculpture Center's
18th Annual Awards for Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture
Grounds For Sculpture is pleased to present an exhibition of work by recipients of the 18th Annual Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Awards organized by the International Sculpture Center (ISC). The competition was established in 1994 for ISC's member colleges, universities, and art schools as a means of recognizing, supporting and encouraging highly talented young sculptors. Each year, professors are invited to nominate their outstanding undergraduate or graduate students, who then submit digital images of their work to be juried by a distinguished panel of art professionals.
An exceptional number of institutions participated in the 2012 competition, including 174 universities, colleges and art school sculpture programs from six countries, nominating a total of 434 students. The jury selected the work of twelve student artists, from the United States and Canada for the 2012 awards. In addition, to exhibition at Grounds For Sculpture, the artist's work will be featured on the ISC's website at http://www.sculpture.org/ and in the October 2012 issue of the ISC's award-winning publication Sculpture magazine.
The 2012 jury was composed of Joseph Antenucci Becherer, Donna Dennis, and Winifred Lutz. Becherer is the Chief Curator and Vice President of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and the author of several books and articles. Dennis, currently Professor of Art + Design and SUNY-Purchase in New York, has received many awards for her work, which has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. Lutz is a Professor of Sculptor Emerita of Temple University's Tyler School of Art and internationally acclaimed for her temporary site-integrated installations for which she has been awarded many presigious grants, exhibitions, and commissions.
This year's exhibition honors:
Dylan Botelho (University of San Diego, San Diego, CA), Teresa Carlesimo (University of Windsor, Ontario, CAN), Adriana Corral (University of Texas, Austin, TX), Teed Esslinger (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI), Ernesto Gomez (University of Georgia, Athens, GA), Timothy Humphrey (California State University, Long Beach, CA), Marie Bannerot McInerney (Washington University, St. Louis, MO), Kyle Petreycik (Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL), Jason Ramey (University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI), Emily Stergar (Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ), Christopher Torrez (Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ), and Amber Whiting (Portland State University, Portland, OR).
In 2012, Grounds For Sculpture artist-in-residence Mark Parsons conducted a dynamic and purposeful community art making project, which is documented in this exhibition through narrative and photographic panels, drawings, material samples, and a video of workshops and artist interviews, as well as related works by the artist. The highlight of the exhibition is the project's collaboratively created large scale, recycled paper sculpture.
The Mapping Memories project is about the dynamic and evolving relationship between ideas and their manifestations in the world. A new idea is seen clearly, but exposed to the passage of time, other ideas enter the mind and affect the initial concept through their relation to it. Components of the initial idea that have less value erode away, leaving an abstracted version of the original as part of a larger complex of ideas. Parsons sees this relationship as parallel to the role of drawing in the process of creating sculpture. The title of the collaborative sculpture is Redline, a term in art that means to mark a drawing for correction or modification with a red pen or pencil.
Mark Parsons has long been interested in exploring the ways in which ideas are mapped, or organized through drawing, both in his own work and in collaborative projects such as that conducted over the past five months at Grounds For Sculpture.
For the first phase of the project, the artist asked members of the GFS community to draw places charged with familial relationships and history, past domestic architectural landscapes, or nurturing environments. In the drawing activity, memories are filtered through many factors, such as age, emotions, and other senses. The participants then transferred their drawings in two large sheets of paper and were encouraged to enlarge and overlap them, so that their drawings covered the whole surface. Each large drawing grew in complexity as the components of individual drawings converged and intertwined - into a densely integrated weave of ideas about domesticity. These drawings were the foundation from which the sculpture evolved.
Parsons studied the two drawings to identify dominant patterns, which he emphasized to create the final line compositions. The large drawings were then placed on gently curved plywood frames and covered with clear plastic. The artist packed a beautiful red paper pulp over the dominant lines, and community participants packed white paper pulp around the lines and to the edges of the frames - about three inches thick for each color. When dried, the two pieces had the appearance of large red line drawings on white paper. The two pieces were tipped on their sides, supported by metal armatures, and leaned together at corresponding points of their elegant arcs to produce the sculpture as presented in this exhibition.
Although each phase of any collaborative process incorporates elements of surprise, the final phase of this project is largely unpredictable. In spring 2013, the recycled paper sculpture will be installed outdoors, on a site adjacent to the Domestic Arts Building, where it will be exposed to the forces of nature: rain, wind, freeze and thaw cycles, and occasional pecks from peacocks. Initially, the two sides of the sculpture will be able to be viewed only from one side or the other, as separate and unique drawings. However, Parsons composed the white paper pulp of less resilient ingredients and the red paper pulp with denser, heartier substances, so the environmental conditions will cause the white paper to deteriorate more quickly. As the solidity of the sculptural structure erodes, fissures will appear in the white areas and grow in size, allowing increasingly larger portions of each drawing to be seen from the opposite side. When all the white paper has disintegrated, the two red line drawings will remain as abstractions of the original sculpture, and they will be viewed together, in their relationship to each other.
Visions of Mythology and Legend
Throughout time, myths and legends have revealed the beliefs and experiences of nearly all cultures around the world. Brave journeys, mysterious cataclysms, mystical apparitions, heroic battles, strange creatures, and immortal beings that have roamed the earth are found throughout the study of mythology. It may be the task of others to sift through what is historical and scientific fact from fiction, but ever since the rediscovery of classical antiquity during the Renaissance, mythology, especially of Greek origin, has continued to inspire and engage Western artists. The result over time is a vast collection of mythologically inspired poetry, literature, music, theater, film, painting and sculpture. The creators of this treasure are artists such as Michelangelo, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Richard Strauss, Jean Cocteau, James Joyce, and Picasso, and on to the artists of today.
While new and evolving technologies and scientific discoveries of all kinds have displaced myth in the understanding of the physical world, myths and legends still provide strong and provocative sources of inspiration. They continue to be a fertile ground for the imagination and vital inspiration for which artists can continually draw upon for big ideas and the search for meaning in the more intangible areas of our contemporary world.
Mythos brings together the works of seven contemporary sculptors whose pieces draw important associations and meanings from mythology and legend in a wide variety of themes, personages, and archetypes. An ensemble of over two dozen sculptures, representing themes ranging from beauty to darkness along with archetypes of imaginary and mythical creatures and personages, is presented in the 7-acre meadow. In the museum, a detailed model for a proposed large-scale installation of a labyrinth with a pond is accompanied by another ambitious concept for a rammed-earth work featuring Sisyphus.
The Artists in the exhibition:
Michele Oka Doner, Carlos Dorrien, Nina Levy, Bruce Lindsay, Marsha Pels, Dana Stewart, and Athena Tacha.
For over three decades, Patrick Strzelec has created sculptures that challenge the edges of abstraction and imagery. His work explores the essential elements of sculpture such as scale, form, and material as well as important spatial relationships between the works and how they are perceived by viewers. The work in this exhibition was made during the period of 1990 to 1993, when the artist was in his early 30's. In August, 2012, Chief Curator Tom Moran interviewed Strzelec about this period of his work.
TM: After 30 years of making art, what drives you to continue to focus on sculpture?
PS: We all communicate somehow, and I think that visual art allows me to communicate in a certain way. Why sculpture? It's probably because I'm a blue collar guy from South Chicago who grew up with my hands. I build stuff.
TM: What are some of the key themes and principles of your artistic activity?
PS: Themes I can talk about; principles... I have no principles. My work during the period represented in this exhibition centered on constructing minimal forms. My deeper purpose was to develop the gray area between formalistic abstraction and recognizable objects. Though the work was abstract, there was a reference to recognizable imagery or metaphorical analogy. I focused on making the work refer to and imply, but not represent or describe, so that alternate meanings could be interpreted. These forms are meant to be suggestive - to allow the viewer the freedom to explore them and to fill in the spaces with their own ideas. That is one of the goals of art - to affect the human consciousness in unexpected ways.
The complete interview can be found in our exhibition brochure, retrievable on your next visit to Grounds For Sculpture.
Arcs and Indeterminate Lines
Bernar Venet's sculptures are installed throughout the world. His works are recognized for their ability to challenge and expand the viewer's perceptions through their optical lightness even though they weigh several tons. The combination of Venet's structural intention on the one hand with his seemingly random formation of material on the other generates a heightened sense of tension as an overarching principle of his work. In 2005, Venet was named Chevalier de la Légion d' honneur, France's highest decoration. In 2011, his large steel sculptures were featured in a major one-man exhibition on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles outside Paris. Venet is the winner of International Julio González Prize for the year 2013.