Saturday, January 9, 2010

Deceptive Delights

On First Thursday, some friends and I checked out the Alexander Calder exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. I never feel that I have much of a vocabulary for responding to modern art, but the more I looked at Calder's work, especially his delicate, smaller-scale mobiles and standing pieces, the more I fell under their spell. Against the white background of the gallery walls, the shadows cast by the mobiles twisted in and out of focus, the curved shapes pulsing gently, creating another dimension to the art itself. Not harshly geometric, but rather spinning on curved axes with curved shapes, his pieces are whimsical form; awkward grace.

My favorite piece was a tall, standing mobile that looked somewhat like a modified tripod with a long neck. From across the room, it appeared to be a static sculpture, but when observed close-up, the long neck bobbed almost imperceptibly up and down, off-setting the other end of the axis to bob in response. To me, it looked like a creature breathing.

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