Invariant Interval, 2013
Solo exhibition at The University of Texas Visual Arts Center, Austin, Texas
September 27 - December 7, 2013
Stainless steel wire, aluminum collars, glass beads
20 ft h x 16 ft w x 15 ft d (609.6 x 487.6 x 457.2 cm)
Commissioned by the Visual Arts Center in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin
All photos by Ricky Yanas and Sandy Carson
Invariant Interval, a site-specific installation by Alyson Shotz, welcomes its viewers into a visually sensuous and intellectually compelling environment. In this work, Shotz demonstrates her ability to transform relatively insubstantial materials into robust, enthralling forms. Invariant Interval’s voluminous form occupies and defines an immense amount of space, but does so with very little mass. Shotz fabricated this dynamic network with wires and beads alone. Suspended from the concrete vaults above, Invariant Interval arcs, twists, and sags beneath the weight of thousands of silvered beads. The netting’s spring steel wires, tempered for maximum tensile strength and elasticity, both constrain and enable the sculpture’s contorting form.
As Invariant Interval defines the contours of space with a massive web of glimmering volumes, it invites its audience to ponder the deceivingly simple relationship between material and form. Through compression and expansion, Invariant Interval reveals that its structure is also its surface. This transparent duality of form and structure reflects Shotz’s interest in Topology, the mathematical study of the properties of geometric forms that remain unchanged by transformation. But the shapes of Invariant Interval also allude to spacetime. Likening the denser areas of the installation to warped space and compressed time, the artist reveals her interest in space itself.
The site of the VAC’s artist-in-residence program, the Vaulted Gallery is transformed twice annually by emerging national and international artists who inhabit the space for three to five weeks each to create new, site-specific installations. This dynamic residency program, situated in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin, fosters collaboration with campus and local communities and provides valuable educational opportunities to students.
Alyson Shotz is an artist based in Brooklyn. She graduated with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987 and an MFA from the University of Washington in 1991. Shotz investigates issues of perception and space through sculptures made from a range of synthetic materials such as mirrors, glass beads, plastic lenses, thread, and steel wire. Her works are in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Curator C.C. Marsh is an independent curator and art historian living in Los Angeles. She earned a BA in Fine Arts from New York University and an MA in Art History from Hunter College. She is currently pursuing a PhD at The University of Texas at Austin, where her dissertation will focus on select exhibitions of French photography from 1945 to 1962.
Generous support for Invariant Interval comes from Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth, Stratus Properties, the W Austin, and Weingarten Art Group. Alyson Shotz’s residency was made possible by the McDonald Observatory, Coyne Gibson, and the Charles Moore Foundation.