Carol Bove’s Material Illusions at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Carol Bove at the Nasher Sculpture Center: rust, ripples and material illusion

At the Nasher Sculpture Center, Texas, an exhibition by American artist Carol Bove examines 20th century traditions and pushes metal to its limits

At the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX, “Carol Bove: Collage Sculptures” marks the first major museum presentation focused solely on the American artist’s assembled steel sculptures.

The exhibition features nine “sculpture-collages” (as the artist calls them), from the past five years, two of which were made especially for Nasher’s exhibition. From a monumental outdoor sculpture to an intimate tabletop composition, the exhibition highlights the versatility of Bove’s work; a lesson in materiality.

“Carol Bove is an artist of extraordinary diversity and subtlety,” says director Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center. “His work skillfully extends traditional sculptural precedents into revealing new forms, both physically and conceptually fresh, that confuse and delight. “

Bove, who has just installed four sculptures on the facade of Met Fifth Avenue in New York City, is adept at making the sturdiest materials appear malleable, pliable and flexible, as if they could wave or warp in the wind, or wrinkle like a fabric. As the artist vividly describes, these sculptures are “a story of movement and pressure, of strength and gentleness”.

By welding and bolting together different shapes of steel and shaping the material with a variety of tools, Bove finds new possibilities in found and industrial materials, and new potential in sculptural traditions previously considered exhausted. We see raw rust-riddled scrap combined with tube-like shapes covered in dense, matte color layers that suggest something altogether more synthesized, digitally rendered and immune to elemental destruction.

“The materials, processes, and syntax of Bove’s nascent sculptures struck me as deeply familiar, but there were, excitingly, elements of the unknown, as if this long-familiar approach to sculpture could lead to places not still imagined, ”said curator Catherine. Craft seeing the first iterations of Bove’s new work.

Bove’s bold use of color and form also refers to 20th century sculpture traditions: from the yellow hues of Willem de Kooning to the cadmium red favored by Donald Judd to emphasize line and texture; and the mid-century public sculpture by Mark di Suvero, Richard Serra and John Chamberlain.

Continuing a 20th-century thought-provoking theme, Bove and Craft have curated a separate exhibition of small works, miniatures, scale models, and models by artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and Henry Moore, who examine many large-scale experiments. §


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