Abject Architect: Landscape Survey 1 (Gallery Writeup)

On April 10th, 2017, I attended the Abject Architect: Landscape Survey 1 gallery on the campus of Alfred University, hosted by Lee McCormick Griggs. This gallery consisted of a few interesting sculptures that seemed to be distorted and mismatched; the sculptures were more like pieces of objects placed around at random, or maybe intentionally “random.” Some of the parts of the sculptures jutted out at different lengths and at different orientations. This, to me, gave the illusion of a break in space and form, and possibly even time. At some points it was hard to see where parts of the sculptures ended, and where new ones began. Parts of them seemed to branch off and integrate into the floor around it in an almost digital way. Overall, the title of “abject” fits the theme of the sculptures presented in this gallery.

The sculpture that I found most interesting in the gallery was the sculpture above, which has no known name or description. This sculpture seemed to utilize an assortment of objects that appear to me as common household items, or, more specifically, objects that we as a society integrate into our daily lives. In a sense, it almost gives off an aura of mediocrity, the mediocrity of humans in our day to day lives, as represented by the variety of cups, the fan at the top of the sculpture, and the distorted pieces of other objects. Also, on one side of the sculpture, jutting out the farthest, their is an “incomplete,” broken form of a woman. The top half is in bright, contrasting white, while the bottom of her is black. This gives the illusion of the woman being the focal point of this sculpture, reflecting, to me at least, the idea that she is pulling the form behind her and causing a distortion. Personally, I am not sure what the intentions of the artist were when doing this piece, and part of that, I think, is the lack of labeling for the artworks in the gallery. With that little bit of extra direction, the sculpture may have had more significant meaning and direction; however, with that said, maybe the viewer is supposed to think whatever they feel like thinking when viewing the works and to draw out their own personal ideologies and emotions. This idea of the audience deriving meaning from art reflects the movement of postmodernism, where there may not be direct meaning behind the works presented, but the individuals of the society can embed their own meaning(s) into them.

Overall, this gallery was interesting to me mostly because I, the viewer, was “allowed” to reflect my own ideas, emotions, and even philosophies upon the works presented to me. More often than not, I find myself arguing about the ideas that the artist is trying to express; however, when it comes to postmodern works of art, I feel free enough to believe whatever I want to believe, even if the artist may not have intended to express the same thing I am feeling when I view the work. The idea of not being chained down to only one single interpretation — only what the author or artist views — gives a sense of freedom of expression and even inspires other artists in both creativity and expression.

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