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Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Exhibition
Ashley John Pigford, 28,770 Megabytes, 2008. Harddrives, BASIC Stamp 2, electronics, and wood, 27” x 39” x 6”. Courtesy of the artist.

WILIMGTON, DE.- The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts announces the group exhibition SHIFT: Kinetic Sculptures on view outside the DCCA building, in the lobby, and in the Carole Bieber and Marc Ham Gallery from September 18 through November 19, 2009. Organized in conjunction with the Kinetic Sculpture Race celebrating the DCCA 30th anniversary, SHIFT: Kinetic Sculptures features contemporary sculptures that capture motion.

According to Carina Evangelista (Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art), SHIFT: Kinetic Sculptures features works that beckon and yield, rock and roll, tinkle and clang, tick and knock, bubble and flow, and start and stop. Two outdoor sculptures by Paul Daniel (Baltimore, MD) preside over the walkway toward the DCCA building. Operating on the same wind-powered mechanism that propels weather vanes, the curved or angled planes incorporate mirrored panels that animate the environment and track the passage of time as the reflected light changes over the course of the day.

In the lobby, works by Ashley John Pigford (Newark, DE) can be viewed and heard ticking, knocking, and whirring. One is a kinetic sculpture transformed from discarded computer hard drives; the other is a programmed wooden xylophone activated by a door buzzer that plays the rhythm of a knock-knock joke. Jamey Grimes (Tuscaloosa, AL) uses a motion sensor in the corridor to activate the bobbing to and fro of a wooden disc that then sends the thin steel rods anchored to it swaying. The dance of shadows cast by the rods conjures wind-blown reeds and the points of contact among the rods cumulatively create a rich sound.

Beckoning viewers into the gallery is an extended hand sculpted by Billie Grace Lynn (Miami, FL). Distended from the full body, the lifelike wood carving with small lead weights connected to a contraption of strings and weights is hypersensitive, mirroring the viewer’s slightest touch and gesture. A motorcycle encased in cow bones, also by Lynn, is a political piece that comments on the connections of industrial meat production, excessive consumption, and the industry’s dependency on oil. The battery-powered motorcycle can be driven up to 30 miles per hour.

Dennis Beach (Wilmington, DE) hung a ceiling installation of clear acrylic tubes containing water that is propelled through the pressure of compressed air. The sound of rushing water throughout the space becomes a surprising element in an art gallery. Timothy D. Belknap (Philadelphia, PA) installed a bright red dumpster with a foot pedal that bangs a furry mallet on its metal wall, setting underwater neon aglow inside it. The vibration thrusts model battleships in the water to push against one another in a virtual war game.

Henry Loustau (West Grove, PA) cast in bronze an archetypal house with a fence around it sitting atop a globe. A gentle push sets it in a rocking motion that evokes the maternal and the movement of the earth. Integrating her training both as a visual artist and a cellist, Lily Gottlieb-McHale (Philadelphia, PA) creates large music-box-like sculptures out of found materials and parts of vintage objects to which she attaches bells, lights, or tuned instrument wires.

A wall sculpture the size of a medicine cabinet by martinafischer13 (Kassel, Germany) emits the sound of a heartbeat and takes a quarter to furnish a pause. The unexpected silence makes viewers conscious of their own breathing and heartbeat while the sound of the pulse functions as an internal metronome for all the sounds and movements in the entire exhibition.

SHIFT: Kinetic Sculptures might comprise a room full of mechanized objects but the works were selected not so much for the whiz, pop, bang of kinetic art but for a range of movements that capture the poetic, startling, whimsical, subtle, and playful in objects that are astir. While the works certainly demonstrate the technical wizardry of their creators, they also reveal conceptual, political, and philosophical dimensions. With sound and movement, the exhibition elicits smiles and triggers contemplation.

The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts | SHIFT | Carina Evangelista | Paul Daniel | Dennis Beach |

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