Peter Shelton "powerhousefrenchtablenecklaces"

Sperone Westwater

poster for Peter Shelton "powerhousefrenchtablenecklaces"

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Sperone Westwater presents a survey of sculptures by Peter Shelton. These corporeal and architectural works from 1989 to the present are both abstract and referential. Their materiality and subject matter elicit a physical, emotional, and psychic engagement – making the visual experience tactile and tangible.

In powerhousefrenchtablenecklaces (1994 - 2012), spatial tension is created by precariously balancing a bronze model of an uprooted and upended 19th-century powerhouse on a small French table. Water runs slowly over a massive cluster of necklaces gathered around the building’s smokestack. Made variously of bronze, water, copper, and wood, additional works from the series thingsgetwet (1989 - 1994) are included. In boots (1989), Shelton animates ordinary objects (his work boots) by filling and overflowing their interiors with water. In pagodawindowskull (1993), water drips from the finial of a hanging inverted model of the Ishiyama-dera pagoda into the trepanned opening of an ancient Peruvian skull. Throughout Shelton’s work, water evokes all its possible associations from bodily fluids to gravity and time. To Shelton, water can be entropic and erosive, vivifying and ameliorative, animating and abstracting. It can connect the disparate and soften the hard.

Three large-scale, bubble-like sculptures, appointed by various openings that protrude from the wall, are installed in the gallery’s Moving Room. Alternately anatomical and industrial, these works have hydraulic and pneumatic associations. The bulbous form, bigfrenchvent (2003 - 2012), appears to have a coarse and graphic exterior, but smooth lips draw attention to its interior surfaces. Skin and surface are important in Shelton’s work as he explains:

I try to think of materials as not just a surface or treatment, but part in parcel to what the work is. Sometimes, of course, it’s a skin, so it’s very much about that surface. However, I like to think it’s like the skin that contains us again and so it’s not like something that’s applied and arbitrary, but very much a part of what gives us definition.



from April 05, 2012 to April 28, 2012

Opening Reception on 2012-04-05 from 18:00 to 20:00


Peter Shelton

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