Alyson Shotz: Plane Weave

Art bridging disciplines by connecting science and mathematics with the visual arts and through the use of non-traditional materials

Alyson Shotz is known for work that seeks to understand the physics of space through sculpture. Her art bridges disciplines by connecting science and mathematics with the visual arts and by using non-traditional materials like glass beads or stainless steel wire to build often immense abstract sculptures.

For her Morris Gallery presentation, Plane Weave, Shotz has created a large tapestry-like sculpture composed of thousands of pieces of punched aluminum and stainless steel rings of the artist’s design that are connected by hand. A deep investigation into the work of light and gravity on the way that materials function in space, this new work also reflects upon the repeating patterns found in nature.     

Shotz worked with PAFA students on the making of some elements of the sculpture, which appears to change from translucent to opaque and from a reflective screen to a solid object in response to the shifts in light.

The work conjures the natural world (the sun on rippling water), as well as the digital (computer pixels). These ideas represent an exciting new direction in Shotz’s work, as she furthers her interests in creating large volumes out of small mass and allowing the shape of the work to be determined by gravity and other forces outside of her control.

Shotz allows the material to be flexible—something that droops and gathers like fabric—rather than rigid. While Shotz is deeply connected to the history of sculpture through the questions that she asks in her work, she simultaneously is challenging ideas in modernist sculpture.

Shotz received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987 and her MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1991. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; Espace Louis Vuitton, Tokyo; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; among many others.

She has done numerous large-scale, site-specific commissions including at Stanford University, Palo Alto; the MTA Arts for Transit Station, Brooklyn; The Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Her solo exhibition Force of Nature was recently on display at the Wellin Museum in Clinton, New York, and traveled to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, South Carolina.

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