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Alice Aycock, Mary Miss, Charles Simonds

May 14 - June 27, 2008


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Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition EXCAVATIONS: Alice Aycock, Mary Miss, Charles Simonds which opens on May 14 and runs through June 27, 2008.  The exhibition includes drawings, photographs, and sculpture by three Internationally known artists who have created site-specific sculpture since the 1970s. EXCAVATIONS continues the gallery’s ongoing program of thematic exhibitions that highlight correspondences among artists working in diverse media.

After being labeled as “site” artists by  Rosalind Krauss in her well-known essay, Sculpture in the Expanded Field, 1979, Aycock, Miss, and Simonds subsequently became associated with movements ranging from post-minimalism and conceptual art to Earth Art and architecture.  Today, however, they are probably best known as figures in the field of ‘public art’.  Rarely exhibited in conventional gallery settings, their works can be encountered in public parks, plazas, or buildings where they are exposed to both the art-informed viewer and the general public.  Each artist, in very different ways, makes the spectator and the spectator’s participation and response integral to their work. 

Alice Aycock is represented in the exhibit by drawings and photographs which document her sculpture, Project for a Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels which was constructed in 1975 in Far Hills, New Jersey.  In this work the artist created six concrete-block wells interconnected by an elaborate series of narrow, subterranean tunnels which made travel through them a claustrophobic and disconcerting experience.  Imbued with disquieting references to death and burial, childhood fears of cellar and attic, and the disappearance of light into darkness,  the architectural spaces Aycock creates are by no means serene and contemplative.

In contrast, Mary Miss’s work Field Rotation, 1980-81, built on the campus of Governor’s State University in Park Forest South, IL is gently integrated with its natural environment.  The site, formerly 700 acres of flat prairie, consists of a large mound with sunken courtyard, seating and water pools; a tower; and scaled series of wood posts that emphasize the terrain’s topography. The installation, an obviously artificial construction in landscape, accentuates the flat prairie surroundings and invites the sheltered spectator to spend time in it. 

For the exhibition, Charles Simonds has created a corner sculpture reminiscent of the miniature clay dwellings he began building in 1970 on the streets and vacant lots of New York.  Simonds’ dwelling-places, Lilliputian structures in clay evoking the lives and times of imagined peoples, present highly charged, temporary collisions between the past and the present day in ruins.  Geographical forms such as plateaus, cliffs, and mountains are depicted in a state of flux or ruin, where human presence is reduced to a memory.

Alice Aycock

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm, and Saturday, 11am-6pm. For further information, contact Betsy Senior or Laurence Shopmaker.

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