NEW WORKS

Nature is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere  –  Pascal

The transformation of experience into form is not direct, but rather a search for equivalents.  The forms that evolve from this may be obscure or illusive but are not necessarily abstract.  A deep understanding of materials and processes often yields equivalents which seem to arise from an affecting presence.  In cultures that did not distinguish between the artists and craftspeople, the ability to create this presence gave object makers elevated status, power, and the role of shaman.

In contemporary terms it unveils a broad range of new visual metaphors.  Lynda Rockwood makes sculpture in which the real and the abstract continually trade places.  Many of the recent works are slabs supported by legs, table-like environments, which like bonsai suggests significance much larger.  An active interest in ecology seems to be the basis for categorical symbols, as in her use of general color to indicate air, earth or water.  The works do not criticize or comment, rather they heighten our interaction by enhancing our awareness.  These beautiful objects seem ordinary enough at first viewing, but immediately begin to resonate with intrigue, blending unique qualities of materials and seductive forms, challenging the viewer to become an active participant scanning and examining the work.  Rockwood seems to have reversed the process of archeology.  We are presented with the exposed surface and the raw information first, then urged toward discovery.  The importance of substance and process is highlighted in River Form.  In Green Form, a sphere on a round slab table emphasizes the qualities in these forms that have evolved from a liquid state.  Lava-like ooze has drifted to form a perfectly defined yet undelineated circular slab which tenuously holds a gluttonous globe.

In these “unpainted landscapes” we are given a cross section or core sample, the surface of which is articulated with natural elements, shards and metallic bits and pieces.  Sometimes loosely placed in a formal reservoir, sometimes firmly embedded, they may be seen to represent the boundaries of change in the environment.  Emerging from the interior of the piece, they establish the presence of a content within.  Often as in Slate Form, the ritual significance of objects is utilized to activate quizzical formal elements.  This work presents the viewer with a visual riddle that is conceptualized in terms of potent ceremonial forms.  The three main forms are balanced formally and thematically.  They have a rich and particular  identity, yet are concomitantly universal.  We experience the true character of these forms as anachronistic survivors of the sculptural process.

Tom Lang

Catalog.  New Works exhibition, May 1990