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Jim Hodges's Massive New Sculpture Look and See
Jim Hodges's Look and See sculpture (detail), 2005 (artist's rendering).
NEW YORK.- In early February, nine tons of stainless steel arrived at the Hudson Valley foundry ready to be polished to a fluid reflective surface, molded into a curved S-shaped wall, laser cut, and painted black and white to complete the stylized four-tone camouflage pattern. On May 5, Jim Hodges’ massive new sculpture, Look and See, will begin its six-month public view as part of Creative Time’s Art on the Plaza at the Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park City. The artwork will transport visitors on a sensual journey as they experience the warped refractive environment that fuses reflections of their own images with the opposing landscapes of skyscrapers and park, and raises questions about identity, artifice and nature.

Jim Hodges’ Look and See is the fifth artwork commissioned for Creative Time’s Art on the Plaza. The series explores contemporary sculpture’s myriad manifestations, from LED lights and video to sound sculptures and performance, by internationally acclaimed artists Jim Campbell, Gary Hume, Zhang Huan, and Shirazeh Houshiary & Pip Horne.

Departing from the delicate, ephemeral materials that have characterized much of Hodges’ work, Look and See is a bold and powerful sculpture that mixes the elusive with the solid. The substantial size (11.5’ H x 50’ L x 1” D) and weight (9 tons) of the sculpture are juxtaposed with the ideas inherent in the work. The curved form is exaggerated by the distorted reflections of the mirrored surface, and the carefully constructed camouflage voids bring the subtle and transient details of life into focus. The fleeting images and play of light mark the passage of time and cast kaleidoscope shadows on and around the sculpture.

Throughout his career, the artist has employed a wide range of materials including silk flowers, paper napkins, silver chains, shattered mirrors, and now for the first time, stainless steel, to create deceptively simple objects layered with complex meaning and symbolism. His work is also about discovery and the pleasure of seeing familiar things in new and different ways.

In Look and See, Hodges extends the ideas and materials explored in his earlier works (cut outs, camouflaged painted walls, and shattered mirrors) and pushes his practice into new terrain. By removing sections of the pattern and polishing the surface for Look and See, the artist penetrates the formidable steel wall, creating a vulnerability consistent with his work. The use of fragmented mirrored surfaces and camouflage, a historical manmade rendering of nature layered with cultural and political allusions, elicits a tremendous range of emotional associations. Hodges’ fascination with camouflage – its basic pattern of light and dark– exists in its ability to conceal and alter our perception.

Look and See, created specifically for this public site, extends Hodges’ fascination with urban and natural landscape and his belief that any material or situation may become the occasion for inventive transformation. The sculpture becomes an extension of the environment where reality dissolves and is replaced by a new disorienting vision of the individual merged with his natural surroundings.

The Artist - Born in Spokane, Washington, Jim Hodges lives and works in New York City. He is represented by CRG Gallery, New York, and will have a solo show there in May 2005. He is also represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery London. His artistic practice includes photography, sculpture, printmaking, mural painting, and collage. Hodges received a Bachelor’s degree in fine art from Fort Wright College, Spokane, in 1980, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Pratt Institute, NY, in 1986. He has exhibited extensively around the world. Recent solo exhibitions include the forthcoming Captive D’Amour, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostello, Spain, 2005; Jim Hodges, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, 2005; Don’t Be Afraid, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass, 2004; and Jim Hodges, Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, 2003; Hodges has participated in many international group exhibitions including Landscape Confection, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, 2005; The Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2004; and Treble, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, New York, 2004. His works reside in major collections including The Art Institute of Chicago; The Dallas Museum of Art; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Centre Georges, Pompidou, Paris.

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