‘T’ Space in Rhinebeck has installed, to great effect, a single work, “Interval”, by the widely exhibited young sculptor Alyson Shotz. As an artist who works on a large scale with translucent and reflective materials, Shotz is very much in the mold of the great constructivist Gertrude Goldschmidt, known in her adopted Venezuela as Gego, who pioneered the concept of (literally) hanging complex, grid-like assemblages that annihilated the boundary between the object itself and the space in which they were exhibited. Gego’s mostly angular, inherently static three-dimensional wire constructions entangled the viewer in an environment made mobile by the immense complexity of both their graphic form and cast silhouettes. While Gego worked from her own drawings, Shotz, with the opportunity to now make digitally generated maquettes that evoke the imagery of theoretical physics, has taken the medium to a radically new and equally dramatic level in works that add glass beads, mirrors, lenses, and sweeping curves of delicately fashioned metal into the mix. At ‘T’ Space, with its small footprint, cathedral ceiling, and asymmetrical skylights, the mutually transformative symbiosis of object and context is complete. The as always well-attended opening at Steven Holl’s lakeside Arcadia included a short, austere, meditative keyboard recital by Raphael Mostel, Columbia University teacher and leader of the celebrated Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble, and a similarly tranquilizing reading of intense, compact (almost haiku-length) poems by Kimberley Lyons. Susan Wides’ curatorial verve in assembling such diverse and intelligent representatives of abstract media amidst sympathetic natural surroundings is a mark not only of her acutely sensitive eye (and ear) for important and idiosyncratic trends, but also of the generosity of spirit she brings to the Hudson Valley arts scene.
— John Isaacs, imby, 2014
For her exhibition at ‘T’ Space, Shotz has fittingly chosen to present Interval a three-dimensional work made from stainless steel wire threaded in glass beads, the third in a series of work… Like water flowing down a sloped landscape before taking the shape of a pond, the size and form of these sculptures are defined by the space they occupy. Here, the work stretches out to approximately fourteen feet horizontally as it twists through the long end of the T. Suspended from above, it pours down towards the floor taking advantage of the force of gravity. In spite of its monumental scale and expansive form, its mass seems rather slight, its density negligible. Shimmering with the light of the relatively small but airy room, the work emanates a kind of mesmerizing energy and exemplifies Shotz’s uncanny sense of presence, both temporal and spatial. One becomes keenly aware of the physical experience of time and of being in the space.
– Mary-Kay Lombino, Light in Space, 2014
Sharing a space with Interval we become more than usually alert to nuances of light and currents of intention. Scale shifts, perspective swarp under pressure from our looking. Giving up its geometrical clarities, space comes alive and well-established distinctions between self and setting begin to blur. Drawn beyond our familiar boundaries by the wonderfully seductive subtleties of this sculpture’s form, we no longer understand ourselves as the unitary, autonomous selves that we become in response to sculptural objects that idealize unity and autonomy.
Carter Ratcliff, Alyson Shotz and the Very Idea of the Self, 2014
Alyson Shotz’s (b. 1964, Glendale, Arizona) monumental sculptures, having been displayed in such prominent arenas as the Guggenheim atrium and Storm King sculpture park, use materials that range from mirrors, glass, and beads, to steel, wire, and digital photography, often repeating formal elements. A former student of physics, the artist explores themes of light, gravity, perceptions of space, and the patterns found in nature. For The Shape of Space (2004), Shotz created a vast patchwork wall of 18,000 Fresnel lenses, while in Mirror Fence (2003) a picket fence faced in polished aluminum reflects and blends into the surrounding grass. Speaking of the influence of the natural world on her work, Shotz has said, “There are things that I see happen when I’m working with a material that tell me something about gravity, space, force. I’m interested in showing that idea through the artwork.” Shotz is now based in Brooklyn, New York.
An exhibition catalog featuring works by Alyson Shotz at ‘T’Space in Rhinebeck, NY.