Solo Exhibition at Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Curated by Chief Curator, Nandini Makrandi
March 1, 2019 - May 27, 2019
Photos: David Humber
Coinciding with the completion and unveiling of her new permanent commission in early 2019, the Hunter Museum is organizing a special exhibition of works by Alyson Shotz. Un/Folding features work that explores forces of nature, folding, feminism and craft. Folding is a process that is found all over the natural world and is crucial in scientific study as well. Through a number of unique forms, Un/Folding takes a broader look at the artist’s work from the last five years. The two centerpieces of the exhibition are Lexicon, a 20 foot wall installation of folded ceramic forms, and Experiment in Gravity, a large, aluminum, woven sculpture. The pieces in this exhibition investigate folding in space, folding with gravity, and folding as a feminist act.
Treading a line between order and chaos, planned uniformity and unplanned disarray, Alyson Shotz employs natural phenomena—such as mass, force, gravity and light—to create her works. A self-described inter-disciplinarian, Shotz’s sculptures take many forms, each particular to the concept she is investigating. Un/Folding, a broader look at the artist’s work from the last five years, explores her pieces in paper, clay, copper, bronze, aluminum, steel and thread.
Shotz works in series—many of the exhibited works document the idea of change through time, as forms progress and shift. Pieces start with the desire to take one shape and fold or expand it in a myriad of ways. This repetition, expansion and contraction of forms mimics dynamics in the natural world, where folding is ever present. Shotz’s practice further takes a feminist lean as her flexible, airy, organic pieces present a distinct response to the solid, welded, geometric objects of the traditional male dominated art world.
Like a scientist, Shotz poses questions and places parameters within which she experiments. Her pieces do not mimic scientific principles, but rather, metaphorically represent abstract notions of space. Readings in physics or mathematics inspire further research which manifests in pieces that defy conventional definitions of sculpture. The artist constantly embraces new technologies, often mixing digital modeling and design with meticulous hand work, as she painstakingly builds pieces by combining thousands of tiny parts into larger structures. This intersection of traditional crafting with technology is one of the hallmarks of Shotz’s time intensive process.