Synopses & Reviews
Alice Aycock (b. 1946) emerged onto the New York art scene in the 1970s and is best known for her large-scale public sculptures that often combine an industrial appearance with references to weightlessness as well as to science and cosmology. Aycock also has embraced the practice of drawing throughout her enormously productive career. Alice Aycock: Drawings is the first exploration of her spectacular drawings, which include elements of mirage, fantasy, and science, and evoke both abstract thinking and bodily sensation. The works on paper featured in this handsome volume highlight the major themes that have governed her artistic practice: the role of architecture as a founding point of reference; the importance of mechanics and structure; and references to nature. As author Jonathan Fineberg demonstrates, Aycock is an artist who thinks on paper. Her works are often equal parts engineering plan and science fiction imagining. Visualizing such contradictions allows us to, in her words, transport ourselves andldquo;farther into another place.andrdquo;
"Over the last four decades, Aycock has become known for large-scale public art projects such as East River Roundabout (1995), Strange Attractor for Kansas City (2007), and Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks (2007). Yet the rigorous conceptual underpinnings of her art are only partly visible in the few installations that have been actualized. A clearer development can be seen in the diagrams, computer renderings, and sketches featured here. Aycock has continually employed a complex language of architectural diagram, associative and referential texts, and fanciful or fabulist drawing to create the elaborate worlds of her constructions. Her turn away from minimalism stressed 'he deliberately Ã¢Â€Â˜corrupt' multidirectionality of Aycock's thinking,' which unites history, science, and personal mythology. Over time her obsessions shifted from 'nonfunctional fantasy architecture' (mazes, staircases leading to nowhere) to elaborate systems that engage with occult traditions and theories of the mind and universe. In an efficient essay that discusses Aycock's catalogue chronologically, Fineberg (Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being) fills out the body of references that inform Aycock's drawings and emphasizes the capaciousness of her curiosities. Fineberg's tone is clear and elucidating, while also capturing his subject's deep sense of play: one diagram 'appears to elicit undercurrents of danger while resembling a device for contacting extraterrestrials over the airwaves.' 102 color and 15 b&w illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The first survey of drawings by renowned sculptor Alice Aycock offers readers unique insight into these rarely seen, extraordinarily beautiful works and their relationship to four decades of artistic innovation.
About the Author
Jonathan Fineberg is visiting presidential professor at University of Nebraska and adjunct curator at Parrish Art Museum. Terrie Sultan is director of the Parrish Art Museum.