Alice Aycock "Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating"

Grey Art Gallery

poster for Alice Aycock "Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating"

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Alice Aycock creates art that explores the relationships between fantasy, science, imagination, and experience. Although she is known primarily for her large-scale installations and monumental outdoor sculptures, drawing hasalways played an essential role in her practice. The works on view here—which include drawings for real and imaginary architectural projects, maquettes, and photo-documentation— demonstrate the breadth of her artistic vision. The first half of a retrospective of her drawings, this presentation features works from 1971 to 1984. Some Stories Are Worth Repeating continues at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York.

Aycock believes in art as a mode of shared inquiry. Having moved to New York in 1968 to pursue her Master’s degree at Hunter College, she quickly became a vital member of the 1970s downtown art scene. In her early sculptures—spare, wooden constructions that often prompted viewers to enter underground tunnels or mount precarious ladders—she reacted in part to Minimalism and Land Art, and drew on her experiences studying with artists such as Tony Smith and Robert Morris. By inviting audiences to interact with spaces that elicit both fear and exhilaration, Aycock engages them as collaborators in the creation of meaning. In so doing, she proposes subjective physical experience as an important source of knowledge.

Later in the 1970s, Aycock began working in a more narrative mode, adding rich, fantastical stories to her constructions. Writing, like drawing, has always been a crucial component of her process. While earlier works are paired with more straightforward instructions, many of the later projects are accompanied by statements that introduce viewers to elaborate casts of characters whose storylines animate the artist’s drawn worlds. In these cases, observers are enlisted as conceptual, rather than physical, participants in exploring potential meanings. Her work and teaching—at Yale University School of Art and School of Visual Arts in New York—has inspired succeeding generations of both artists and architects.

For Aycock, drawing is a way of thinking. She employs a deadpan technical drawing style in deliberate counterpoint to her elaborate, fantastic schemes, which celebrate the inter-sections of art, technology, science, and magical thinking. In this blurring of real and fictional, she encourages audiences to transgress predetermined conceptions and to venture, as she puts it, “farther into another place.”



from April 23, 2013 to July 13, 2013


Alice Aycock

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