The Hunter Museum Announces Large Scale Commission

New York-Based Artist Alyson Shotz To Create Installation For Grand Foyer

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Hunter Museum announced that it has commissioned a large scale installation to be completed in early 2019. New York-based sculptor Alyson Shotz was selected through an extensive three-year process helmed by Hunter Museum curators and approved by the museum’s Board of Trustees. A significant undertaking for the museum, the first major Hunter commission in years will hang in the cathedral-like, glass walled grand foyer of the museum’s west wing, overlooking the Tennessee River. 

Working with synthetic, man-made materials such as mirrors, glass beads, acrylic lenses, thread and steel wire, Ms. Shotz builds her sculptures combining thousands of these tiny parts into larger structures that capture and reflect light. Her works are spellbinding, changing with the daylight or as viewers interact with them, and often evoke natural phenomena, such as rain drops, ice and clouds, said officials.

“The Acquisitions Committee was enamored with the alluring quality of Alyson’s work and felt the dynamic nature of her proposal would be the perfect complement to the grandeur of the foyer – beautiful, welcoming, always changing,” said Virginia Anne Sharber, executive director of the Hunter Museum. 

Like Randall Stout, architect of the Hunter’s 2005 west wing, who used the latest in computer technologies to design and engineer the museum’s roofline, Ms. Shotz uses computer mapping to create her intricately detailed works. For the Hunter commission, the artist’s computer mapping references paper: the first and most basic material an artist uses, the beginning of artistic endeavors. 

"To create this sculpture based on a sheet of paper, I made a 3d model of the paper, let it fall through virtual space and used stop motion animation to grab these two shapes," said Ms. Shotz. "I expanded the linear model of the paper (the lines that make up the model), into something that has dimension and can be built. In a sense, I’m taking a linear drawing and directly making that into a sculpture, which again alludes to the paper and the act of drawing itself… 

"The proposed sculpture will have a quality in between presence and absence. It will change constantly: appearing at times very substantial and full of color, and at other times and from other angles, ethereal and more subtle. The motion of the sun throughout the day, the change in light over the seasons, and even the movement of people around the space will change the appearance of this sculpture dramatically. Seen through the windows or from the water or the bridge, it will have these same qualities."

Coinciding with the completion and unveiling of the permanent installation in early 2019, the Hunter will open a temporary special exhibition of works by Ms. Shotz to offer visitors a broader look at the artist’s larger body of work.  The special exhibition will run through May 27, 2019. 

Ms. Shotz received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, Seattle.  She has had solo exhibitions at the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection, San Francisco MOMA and others. Her work is in several collections around the country, including the Guggenheim Museum of Art, the High Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, Storm King Art Center, San Francisco MOMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  Most recently, her work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.




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