OCTOBER 11, 2014 - APRIL 5, 2015



The Wellin Museum of Art today announced a dedicated, solo exhibition of new and recent work by Brooklyn-based sculptor Alyson Shotz, who examines the properties and interactions of light, gravity, mass, and space in her work. Opening October 11, 2014, Alyson Shotz: Force of Nature will showcase a broad range of the artist’s creative output. The exhibition will feature large-scale sculptures, prints, ceramics, a wall drawing, and an animation, many of which are on view for the first time.

For the exhibition, Shotz will create several new and site-specific works. In the exhibition gallery, Shotz will construct a large-scale, wall drawing comprised of white linen thread strung on carefully sited nail heads. Hamilton College students will assist her in the realization of the work. Expanding the exhibition beyond the Wellin’s galleries and into the museum’s iconic Archive Hall, Shotz will create a band of vinyl decals, which will be on view on a long term basis, that produce the effect of etched glass on a section of the 27-foot-tall glass display cases. The delicate etchings, comprised of forms resembling ovals in rotation, will echo and reinforce the shape of a new, suspended sculpture that Shotz will also create for the exhibition. Reminiscent of a Möbius strip, the sculpture will explore the geometric concept of a continuum—a shape without boundaries or end. 

“This exhibition marks the first time that the Wellin will devote its entire gallery space to a single artist,” said Tracy L. Adler, exhibition curator and director of the Wellin Museum of Art. “We look forward to having Alyson Shotz realize her unified vision for the integration of her work throughout the galleries as well as other areas of the museum. We also look forward to introducing her to the Hamilton College campus, which emphasizes the cross-fertilization of ideas across a range of subjects. Her artistic practice bridges disciplines and draws on scientific methods and mathematical principles; it is a perfect fit for the Wellin’s interdisciplinary approach to exhibition programming.”

Building on the work of her well-known animation, Fluid State, which traces a dawn-to-dusk cycle of an undulating ocean of reflective spheres, Shotz will again examine the passage of time in an animation inspired by Van Gogh’s painting Bedroom in Arles and Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the last scene of which is set in an alien creation of an odd, Earth-like room. Depicting a modernized version of Van Gogh’s bedroom, the animation’s three, eight-minute segments will examine the passage of time through the play of sunlight and starlight in the room. The piece also makes reference to Hurricane Sandy, which flooded Shotz’s studio in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn. In one segment, water floods and recedes from the bedroom. Shotz is collaborating with animator Todd Akita and jazz drummer Nasheet Waits, who is producing the soundtrack.

”I’m fascinated by the suspension of time and isolation one feels in both bedrooms that Van Gogh and Kubrick have portrayed. The animation will highlight the strange, yet seemingly commonplace experience of living on a planet in space, rotating around a sun, through a series of day and night cycles,” said Shotz. “I’m also thrilled to be collaborating with Nasheet on the soundtrack. Time seems to contract and expand when one hears him perform.”

A series of works in the exhibition explore materiality and chaotic behavior—how the outcome of an action is unknown and different each time the action is undertaken. Recumbent Folds, a series of ceramic works, is shaped by chance. Shotz creates each work by wrapping porcelain white clay around a tube and then dropping it on the floor. Shotz then gently removes the distorted cylinder, ostensibly leaving behind a record of the moment of the crash. The materiality of Topographic Iteration, a meta and non-traditional series of prints, is also influenced by chance. To create a print, Shotz photographs a crumpled sheet of white paper. The photograph is printed on the exact same size and type of paper. She then crumples the print to create a final object that is a photo of an original physical object and a real physical object in and of itself. 

The installation Invariant Interval deals with materiality in a different way. The sculpture’s structure acts as its surface, creating an almost paradoxical relationship between form and mass. The 20-foot by 30-foot, shimmering sculpture comprising stainless steel, spring-tempered wire, and silvered beads defines a vast space, but has an ethereal, insubstantial quality. Suspended from the ceiling, the weight of the silvered beads causes the sculpture to arc, rotate, and droop. This dynamic movement reflects Shotz’s interest in topology—the mathematical study of continuous deformation of shapes and space through stretching and bending. It also reflect her interest in spacetime—any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single interwoven continuum. The denser areas of the sculpture allude to warped space and compressed time.

Alyson Shotz: Force of Nature, which runs from October 11, 2014 through April 5, 2015, is organized and curated by Wellin Museum Director, Tracy L. Adler. It will travel to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston in May 2015. A fully illustrated, hardcover, monographic catalogue will accompany the exhibition. It will feature essays by Veronica Roberts, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, and Nat Trotman, associate curator at the Guggenheim Museum, New York City.

White Fold, 2015
Wet spun white linen thread, pins
14ft H. x 49ft L. x 2in

Invariant Interval, 2013-2015
Stainless steel wire, aluminum collars, glass beads
20ft h x 16ft w x 15ft d (609.6 x 487.6 x 457.2 cm)

Black Folds #1-5 
Folded and painted aluminum Various dimensions


Imaginary Sculptures, 2014-15 Enamel on steel, 20 variations 3 x 12" (7.6 x 30.5 cm) each Edition of 10 Lemniscate, 2014 Welded aluminum 62 x 94 x 57 in. (157.5 x 238.8 x 144.8 cm)


Progression, 2014
24 Vinyl etchings on glass
approx. 52 x 52" (132 x 132cm) each
The Bedroom, Time Lapse, 2014
Animation, 27:49 min
Digital animation: Todd Akita
Sound Composition and performance: Nasheet Waits

Emergent Structure, 2015
Latex print on vinyl
211.25 x 201.75" (536.5 x 512.4cm)

Spiral for LB
Mirror-polished stainless steel
65 x 15 x 15" (165 x 38 x 38cm)

Recumbent Folds. 2014.
Unglazed porcelain
Unglazed porcelain on reclaimed wood table
78 x 28 x 38 in.(198.1 x 71.1 x 96.5 cm). 
Each sculpture approx.: 16" diam. x 19" h. (45.72 x 30.48 cm)
Frames Per Second. 2011
Cut acrylic, velcro
94.5 x 240” (240x 609cm)

Sequent. 2013.
Portfolio of five color aquatints with collagraph embossing
13.75 x 13.75” (34.9 x 34.9cm)
Published by Crown Point Press

Sequent II. 2013.
Portfolio of five color aquatints with collagraph embossing
30.25 x 29.75”
(76.83 x 75cm)
Published by Crown Point Press

Fundamental Forces. 2011.
Suite of 6 silver gelatin prints on fiber paper, mounted on 2-ply museum board
18 x 24”
(45 x 60 cm)
published by Carolina Nitsch

Photos: John Bentham and Heather Ainsworth