An attempt to reconcile the representational world of Roman classical sculpture with the rigorous structure and abstract focus of the modernist tradition characterizes Jill Slosburg-Ackerman’s new work.
Professor of sculpture and 3D design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Slosburg-Ackerman was recently granted a residency at the American Academy in Rome. Having spent seven weeks in a studio designed for dancers, drawing at a small table in front of a wall of mirrors, Slosburg-Ackerman joked “I had never seen myself draw before.” The necessity of using lightweight materials she could transport back and forth to Boston, combined with the light-filled openness of the Rome studio, focused and distilled her process. Rather than labor on a single, abstract, perfected drawing, as was her wont, Slosburg-Ackerman made hundreds of more spontaneous, small-scale drawings of both representational and abstract patterns derived from the pine cones and mosaic tile patterns that carpet Roman floors and pathways.
This tension between interior and exterior, frame and picture, two dimensions and three, is at the heart of “In Rome: The Pine Grove. And. Natura naturals; natura natura” now at the Worcester Art Museum. Says Slosburg-Ackerman: “Just as conjunctions separate linguistic elements within a single sentence, I seek to join disparate and often opposing objects in order to create harmonic sculptural works. Some of the subjects that interest me are the contrast of nature and artifice, the relationship of handmade things and manufactured products, and the tension between sculpture and design.”
“In Rome” is on view until March 31 at the Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Mass.