Press Release

August 3, 2005, Philadelphia, PA –To coincide with the opening of the gallery's newly designed rooftop garden, Locks Gallery will begin the fall season with an interpretative look at the modernist legacy in contemporary sculpture, selected by critic and curator Karen Wilkin. Wilkin examines how the modernist tradition has shifted and re-emerged in contemporary, three-dimensional work by nine artists. As Wilkin notes in her essay for the catalogue, "The work on view ranges from the voluptuously organic to the severely geometric; all essentially abstract, yet alluding to the history of art, the body, nature, the built environment and more...they all reject the idea, current among many practitioners, of sculpture as an indeterminate accumulation of randomly chosen stuff; instead, they all insist on a rigorous development of forms in space, whatever their character, which is what ties them all, ultimately, to the modernist tradition." As a starting point for the exhibit, Wilkin has selected two Anthony Caro works that exemplify his groundbreaking, open steel constructions. Caro's works of the 60's and 70's (included in the exhibit are Strait, 1967 and Haze, 1970) led to a fully abstract idiom in contemporary sculpture. 

Several of the artists–Willard Boepple, Jilaine Jones, and Karlis Rekevics, explore formalism (ideas begun by Caro) through new materials. Boepple builds meditations on things the body uses or places the body inhabits with ordinary materials such as carpenter's lumber and aluminum. Jones and Rekevics use similar materials–plaster, wood, and string–to create self-sufficient, essentially abstract objects that become metaphors for the body and its surroundings.

Mia Westerlund Roosen and Bryan Hunt both ignored modernist construction in favor of volume and allusion early in their careers—Hunt in seemingly airborne dirigible-like sculptures, Westerlund Roosen in mysterious, deceptively papery assemblages, which could be interpreted as Rococo modernism. In recent work, Hunt has cast bronze "waterfalls" which, like Witkin's poured landscapes, make the equivalence between the fluidity of molten metal and the movement of water the basis of unpredictable objects that seem to defy gravity.

Working primarily in bronze, William Tucker and Isaac Within seek volumic mass through innovative casting techniques, always testing the limits of physics with cantilevered elements and creating shifts in scale. Jon Isherwood's stone monoliths, with their swelling forms, deny the stone's weight, suggesting that it can coil and climb. The tension between Isherwood's configurations and the properties of his material energizes the sculpture. For Hunt, Isherwood, Tucker, Westerlund Roosen, and Witkin, the overall intent–whether through innovative casting or a return to subject matter–is to reinvigorate an expressionist impulse that has often been secondary in modernist practice.

Locks Gallery is located at 600 Washington Square South in Philadelphia, PA. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For additional information, please contact Locks Gallery at 215.629.1000 voice 215.629.3868 fax, or


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