In many ways, Alyson Shotz’s sculptures are about their own material existence and the ways in which these objects occupy space. It is as though Shotz is shaping space itself based on the careful selection of the materials she uses: In the installation White Fold (2014), white linen thread arranged in oscillating patterns with pins hover over the white of the gallery, playing with the perception of depth. In the series Invariant Interval (2013-2014), Shotz takes up a greater space extending stainless steel wire, aluminum collars, and glass beads into 18-20 feet hollowed columns that drape weightlessly like fabric. A similar effect is reached in Recumbent Folds (2012-2014) instead using unglazed porcelain.
Shotz work has both a hardness and a softness, a heaviness and an airy absence. This tension is prevalent in her austere colour palette, and in the raw industrial materials she uses in her artwork. Metal is used in the same way she uses linen thread, to create cobweb-like structures that take up space without filling it, and embody the immaterial qualities of the material. Even when the material is heavy, such as porcelain, Shotz interest in lightness mimics the creases of fabric in an avoidance of hard lines.
Her sculptures investigate physicality, in both an artistic and scientific way. Her shapes are based on repeating patterns, and the structures are based on networks, wherein light can interact. Glass beads are a recurring material in her oeuvre because they play with the reflection and refraction of light. Shotz sculpts a creative relationship between the natural and the industrial, embracing sculptures’ connection to physics. With a full understanding that the classic proponents of physics: gravity, mass, and weight also create the affordances of lightness.
Alyson Shotz lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, although her impressive exhibition history brings her and her sculptures all over the world. This year will boast three solo exhibitions for the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston North Carolina, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Galeri Andersson/Sandstrom in Stockholm Sweden. More recently she has begun filming her work (links available at www.alysonshotz.com) to better convey the ethereal subtleties in her manipulation of industrial materials, of which light is always the unlisted natural material.