Sculptor Tony Matelli’s show, now at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum, seeks to memorialize the quotidian. His sculptures encompass a wide variety of subjects, from oddly exhilarating, brightly-colored arrangements of rope, to cast bronze windows complete with accidental still-lifes of dead leaves and protruding tufts of insulation. But it’s the hyper-realistic guy in his underwear that’s caused local controversy. About 300 Wellesley students signed a petition asking that the sculpture be removed, as it is “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault.” The sculpture’s shambling pose and baggy underwear didn’t pose much of a threat on a freezing February day; in fact, its main affront may be the memorialization of someone entirely average-looking, surely a crime in perfection-obsessed America.
Tony Matelli: New Gravity is on view at the Davis Museum, Wellesley College, through July 20.
The countdown begins! I just hit the “launch” button for my new Kickstarter campaign, which I hope will fund equipment purchases for my new installation work (“Who Lives With Us”). Take a look!
I’ve gotten several comments lately from readers who are just discovering the work of America’s women sculptors. Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein’s wonderfully-written American Women Sculptors is the go-to encyclopedia, and I highly recommend it. The book is roughly divided into historical periods, and within those sections are short biographical sketches and illustrations ranging from Mrs. Wright, the world-famous, 18th-century waxworks queen, to Alice Aycock.
The book is now out of print, and so recounts the lives of sculptors only up until 1990 or so. But Ms. Rubinstein’s scholarship is unmatched, and her research remains definitive. Find it on eBay, or from your local library.
Two visitors to my current show at ArtSpace Maynard appear as shadows in the projector’s light. The piece, “Who Lives With Us?” is a series of thoughts on bird and animal species who adapt, or can’t adapt, to humans. Consisting of projected images drawn on laboratory slides, charcoal and crayon drawings, and sculpture, it is on view at the ArtSpace main gallery until January 31. For hours and directions: www.artspacemaynard.com.
My new show, “Under the Radar,” opens at ArtSpace Maynard on Jan. 11th. This week I’m installing a new piece which uses an overhead projector to project drawings, colored glass, and textures from repurposed plastic and fabric on existing sculpture and drawings. There’s a few pedestal pieces as well. Painter Hanna Melnyczuk has 2D work in the front of the gallery. The opening reception is 5-7pm, with 2nd Saturdays open studios beginning at 4pm. For directions and other information: ArtSpaceMaynard.com.
The Nara Park piece features life size birds cut from flat sheet steel. I made a paper pattern for each–like a sewing pattern, but no seam allowances needed. This is the crow, flying over fields around the pond. While thinking about a concept for the piece, I sketched birds and animals I saw or remembered in the park. The final selection was based on size (I wanted to balance large, small, and medium-sized creatures), as well as most commonly-seen inhabitants: Great Blue Heron, American Crow, Barn Swallow, Pumpkinseed sunfish, and last but not least a bullfrog, leaping away from the hungry heron’s beak.
Sean wore waders, but the pond ice held and he did a quick and expert job of bolting our new sculpture to its rock in Nara Park, Acton, Mass. Joyce Audy Zarins constructed the beautiful steel animals and structure, which turns gently in the wind. I designed the birds and animals using the park’s swallows, heron, frogs, and sunfish as models. The piece, in mild steel, will weather and attain its final chestnut-brown color over the winter. I’ll check back again to see how the color progresses. Commissioned by the Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council, the official unveiling will be in spring, 2014.
Acid rain is the bane of outdoor sculpture in many parts of the world, but a new product made of sulfate-reducing bacteria shows dramatic results in this Florentine cemetery…read on!