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First in-depth retrospective of Tony Feher's career opens at DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Tony Feher, Just So, 2002. 28 clear glass bottles with white plastic screw caps, distilled water, food coloring. Overall: 7 1/4 x 100 inches (18.4 x 254 cm). Collection of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Photograph by David Wharton.
LINCOLN, MASS.- DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum announced the opening of Tony Feher, the first in-depth retrospective of Feher’s career, on view from Friday, May 24, 2013, through Sunday, September 15, 2013. The exhibition seeks to reveal the richness, complexity, and impact of the artist’s investigations through a careful selection of 60 key works which revolve around a formal vocabulary that Feher has refined over the past 30 years. Hailed as “an oddly optimistic ode to hope” by Blaffer Art Museum’s Director and Chief Curator Claudia Schmuckli, Feher’s work is infused with vulnerability and emotion.

Feher stacks, dangles, and unfolds his materials to form thoughtful sculptures in a practice that is deeply personal, culled from all the things, people, places, and events that have defined his life for more than half a century. Over this time, he has developed a very specific and recognizable vocabulary of everyday materials which include bottles filled with colored water, marbles, pennies, Styrofoam blocks, plastic bags, paper cups, and more. Feher selects the elements for his sculptures with the utmost care – despite their generic character and ready availability, they become specific and sincere in his hands. He doesn’t seek to transform these materials as much as to accentuate their inherent characteristics, enabling viewers to truly see and appreciate their value and beauty, or even just to see and appreciate things anew.

Feher is driven by a true reductivist impulse. The simplified, repeating forms and materials that characterize his sculptures cut to the heart of objects and ideas, and contribute to the overwhelming sense of immediacy and universalism in the work. In this way, Feher’s work “celebrate[s] the power of creativity as humanity’s most powerful weapon and achievement” (Claudia Schmuckli, Blaffer Art Museum’s Director and Chief Curator).

Feher’s practice also draws on the history of sculpture, ranging from early twentieth century readymade and assemblage techniques to minimal and post-minimal strategies of the 1960s and 1970s. While his work is rich with allusions to famous precursors such as Marcel Duchamp, Carl Andre, and Robert Irwin, Feher’s fundamental concerns are of a different nature. Having come of age in an intellectual climate dominated by an overwhelming sense of endangerment due in no small part to the discovery of AIDS, Feher, opting for humanism, proudly imbues his work with a sense of transience that is firmly anchored in the politics of his time. Feher states: “Life is vulnerable, not fragile. Life perseveres. It has a tenacious grip. My art may appear fragile, but it holds on.”

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1956, Feher grew up mostly in Corpus Christi, with early stops in Florida and Virginia, and eventually pursued a BA from the University of Texas. He now lives in New York City. Feher has exhibited extensively in the United States and internationally. His work can be found in the collections of many notable institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Baltimore Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; La Coléccion Jumex, Mexico City; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

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May 25, 2013

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