Saturday, November 13, 2010
Josiah McElheny: American Glass Artist
Josiah McElheny (born in 1966, United States) is an artist who lives and works in New York. He has exhibited his work at national and international venues including the Museum of Modern Art, Orchard, and Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York, Donald Young Gallery in Chicago, Institut im Glaspavillon in Berlin, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, White Cube in London, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.
Josiah McElheny's work addresses history, modernism, cosmology, reflection, infinity, purity and utopia, and has clear links to the work of the American abstract artist Donald Judd. His work also sometimes deals with issues of museological displays and one's attempts to derive inferences about historical peoples from their household possessions and objects.
The artist has also expressed interest in glassblowing as part of an oral tradition handed down generation to generation.
One of the artist's ongoing projects has been characterized as an "investigation into the origins of the universe." "An End to Modernity" (2005), a twelve-foot-wide by ten-foot-high chandelier of chrome and transparent glass modeled on the 1960s Lobmeyr design for the chandeliers found in Lincoln Center, and evoking as well the Big Bang theory, was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University. "The End of the Dark Ages," again inspired by the Metropolitan Opera House chandeliers and informed by logarithmic equations devised by the cosmologist David H. Weinberg was shown in New York City in 2008. Later that year, the series culminated in a massive installation titled "Island Universe" at White Cube in London and in Madrid.
In earlier works, the artist has played with notions of "history" and "fiction." Examples of this are works that recreate Renaissance glass objects pictured in Renaissance paintings and modern (but lost) glass objects from documentary photographs (such as works by Adolf Loos). McElheny has mentioned the influence of the writings of Jorge Luis Borgesin his work.
Posted by Aitch at 11:02 AM