October 28, 2017 – March 10, 2018
Define Gravity: Sculpture in the Ahmanson Collection
Lynn Aldrich, Hermione Allsopp, Francesco Arena, Genesis Belanger, Peter Brandes, Pia Camil, Maja Lisa Engelhardt, Sir Jacob Epstein, Athene Galiciadis, Iza Genzken, Ale Groen, Tim Hawkinson, Jutta Koether, Meg Lipke, Nathan Mabry, John Mason, Henry Moore, Zoe Paul, Kurt Steger, Ricky Swallow, and Jian-Jun Zhang
The 28 sculptural objects on display in the Ahmanson Gallery confidently represent Howard and Roberta Green Ahmanson's engagement with the medium of suclupture over the last 25 years. This selection of work includes 21 international artists from 10 countries, most of them contemporary, who represent unique positions within their medium. The richness of Define Gravity is created by its diverse content and innovative use of materials, which reflect the Ahmansons' rich intellectual life and expansive view of culture. The exhibition is organized thematically to create a succinct dialogue among sacred, feminist, or other viewpoints. In the first gallery, the viewer encounters contemplative religious objects, which set the tone for exploring fundamental questions about human nature and propose a sacred understanding of all aspects of life. In the same gallery, geometric, constructivist works by John Mason and Kurt Steger are juxtaposed with work by Isa Genzken and Genesis Belanger, who address femininst themes or operate from a post-feminist standpoint. The overarching aesthetic of the work in the gallery is defined by hard-edged, more traditional forms of sculpture: cast bronze, metal consructions, cast concrete, and a large hand-built, ceramic spearhead. In the second gallery, there is a visual transition to forms inspired by organic shapes and bright colors. The unexpected use of softer materials such as fabric, silicone, and furniture references concerns related to out domestic and social space. Works such as Lynn Aldrich's Marine Preserve are representative of trends in contemporary sculpture that address sustainibility and the future of our environment. Athene Galiciadis's work, Untitled (Stool-Pink and Black and Blue Fluo and Yellow Fluo), explores the value of historicity and how objects can impact our social space. Though the human figure is absent here, each work pays homage to the importance of creativity and human flourishing. It is also gratifying to explore how each artist wrestles with the inherent limits lf their material. For example, Ricky Swallow's cast bronze sculpture, Standing Door with Band #1, depicts an impossibe tension between a rubber band and foam shape. Hermione Allsopp's soft, billowing chair sculpture assemblage, titled A Last Dance, employs a strange counterbalance of varied approaches to material and surface. Through their divergent explorations, these artists work to hold gravity at bay.