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Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(Aiko)

(b Norwalk, CA, Jan 24, 1926; d San Francisco, CA, Aug 5, 2013).

American sculptor, painter and draftsman. Asawa was born the fourth of seven children to Japanese immigrants and her childhood on a thriving truck farm formed her work ethic. During World War II, the Asawas were separated into different internment camps. At the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas, Ruth was able to learn drawing from interned Japanese–American illustrators. In 1943 a scholarship allowed her to leave the camp to study at Milwaukee State Teachers College. However, when she realized that she could never find a teaching position in Wisconsin because of her Japanese ancestry, she headed to Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1946. The Black Mountain College community, including illustrious teachers such as Albers family, §1 and R(ichard) Buckminster Fuller, nurtured Asawa’s artistic foundation and philosophy. There she started on looped-wire sculpture after discovering the basket crocheting technique in Mexico in 1947. Upon graduation, she married her classmate, the architect Albert Lanier (...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b Detroit, MI, May 10, 1932; d Cairo, Egypt, June 23, 1997).

American sculptor, performance artist, and installation artist. Byars spent his formative years in Japan (1958–68) where he learnt to appreciate the ephemeral as a valued quality in art and embrace the ceremonial as a continuing mode in his life and work. He adapted the highly sensual, abstract, and symbolic practices found in Japanese Noh theatre and Shinto rituals to Western science, art, and philosophy. One of his most important works of that period is Untitled Object (Runcible) (1962–4), also known as The Performable Square, a 46 cm cube consisting of 1000 sheets of white flax paper that unfold into a 15×15 m white plane divided by 32 parallel strips connected at the top with paper hinges. It was first exhibited, folded, in 1964 at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, in the centre of the museum floor, placed on a sheet of glass, but not ‘performed’ (i.e. unfolded) until 14 years later, in ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Derrick R. Cartwright

(b Shanghai, China, Sept 18, 1933).

American sculptor of Italian and French parentage. He spent his early childhood in the Far East, before his family moved to San Francisco, CA, in 1941. He entered San Francisco City College in 1953 and attended the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1954 to 1955, completing his BA in Philosophy at Berkeley in 1956. It was during these years that he first took seriously his interest in art, and studied sculpture primarily. Moving to New York in 1957, he became aware of the work of the Abstract Expressionists and the associated sculpture of David Smith. A work-related accident in 1960 left his legs and spine permanently impaired and confined him to a wheelchair for nearly two years. Subsequently, the scale of his work shifted dramatically from smaller, ruggedly Expressionistic pieces in cast bronze and unhewn wood to monumental constructions in steel. The resultant sculpture necessarily exceeded the limits of museum and gallery walls, as did his aspiration for its exhibition. His favourite materials became synonymous with those of the modern construction industry: I-Beams, steel cables, wooden ties and scrap metal were used in di Suvero’s work of the mid-1960s....

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....

Article

Jeremy Lewison

(b Hartford, CT, Sept 9, 1928; d New York, NY, April 8, 2007).

American sculptor, printmaker, and draughtsman. He studied at Syracuse University, NY, from 1945 to 1949, and between 1951 and 1952 he served in the US Army in Japan and Korea, where he was able to visit oriental shrines, temples, and gardens. In 1953 he moved to New York, where he attended the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. From 1955 to 1956 he worked as a graphic designer for the architect I. M. Pei, and he began to make paintings while continuing to work as a graphic designer. He abandoned painting in 1962 and began to make abstract black-and-white reliefs, followed in 1963 by relief constructions with nested enclosures projecting into space, and box- and table-like constructions. He first made the serial and modular works for which he is best known in 1965, an idea inspired in part by the photographs of Eadweard Muybridge. Initially these were wall and floor structures, but in ...

Article

Joan H. Pachner

(b Los Angeles, CA, Nov 17, 1904; d New York, Dec 30, 1988).

American sculptor and designer. He was the son of an American writer mother and Japanese poet father and was brought up in Japan (1906–18) before being sent to the USA to attend high school in Indiana (1918–22). In 1922 he moved to Connecticut, where he was apprenticed to the sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867–1941). Discouraged by Borglum, Noguchi moved to New York and enrolled to study medicine at Columbia University (1923–5). From 1924 he attended evening classes at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School; encouraged by the school’s director, he decided to become a sculptor. In addition he frequented avant-garde galleries, including Alfred Stieglitz’s An American Place and the New Art Circle of J. B. Neumann; he was particularly impressed by the Brancusi exhibition at the Brummer Gallery (1926).

In 1927 and 1928 he was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships to visit the Far East, but he went to Paris instead. For six months he worked as ...

Article

Mick Hartney

(b Seoul, July 20, 1932; d Miami, Jan 29, 2006).

South Korean video artist, performance artist, musician, sculptor, film maker, writer, and teacher, active in Germany and the USA (see fig.). From 1952 to 1956 he studied music and aesthetics at the University of Tokyo. In 1956 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany: he studied music at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich, and worked with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen at Darmstadt, before joining Fluxus, with whom he made performance art, experimental music, and ‘anti-films’ (e.g. the imageless Zen for Film, 1962). His Neo-Dada performances in Cologne during this period included a celebrated encounter with John Cage, during which he formed a lasting friendship with the avant-garde composer by cutting off his tie. Inspired by Cage’s ‘prepared piano’, in which the timbre of each note was altered by inserting various objects between the strings, Paik’s experiments from 1959 with television sets, in which the broadcast image was modified by magnets, culminated in his seminal exhibition ...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Aileen June Wang

(b Boston, MA, Feb 3, 1969).

American installation artist. Sze earned critical acclaim for her large-scale, elaborate installations composed of mass-produced objects sold in hardware stores and supermarkets, such as cotton swabs, string, plastic bottles, desk lamps, industrials pipes and fans. Living plants were often included as well. Sze studied for a year in Tokyo as an undergraduate and learned about ikebana, the arrangement of flowers according to philosophical principles ( see Japan §XVII 9. ). Critics considered this Japanese art form a pivotal influence. Sze graduated with a BA from Yale University in 1991 and with an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 1997.

The conception of small objects coming together to form expanding structures reflected Sze’s interest in architecture, which can be attributed to her architect father. She admired Wright family §(1), Rem Koolhaas and Frank O(wen) Gehry . An early work exhibited at the Soho Annual in New York (...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Los Angeles, Dec 7, 1923; d Baarlo, March 15, 2009).

American sculptor, photographer and film maker, active in the Netherlands. Born of Japanese parents, he received his first training in sculpture from the American sculptor Donal Hord (1902–66) in 1941. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor (on his 18th birthday) his family was sent to an internment camp, an experience that left scars more intense than his war wounds. To escape the camp, he joined a brother in the US army, and after demobilization he worked as an antiques restorer and from 1947 to 1948 studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He moved to Paris in 1948 where he studied under Ossip Zadkine and in 1949 under Fernand Léger. In the latter year he came into contact with the Cobra group and exhibited with them at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In 1950 he was one of the co-founders of the Galerie 8 in Paris and also studied at the Académie de la Grand Chaumière. Also in ...