Sunday, January 4, 2015

Looking Deeply

Josiah McElheny's
Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism

While visiting the MFA Boston I came upon an exhibit that is hard to ignore. It glistened at me from across the room and I was drawn through the gallery by the shiny surfaces fractured into a million different shards of light.

At first glance I assumed I was looking at multiple rows of glass decanters being reflected endlessly. Like a sophisticated, witty take on the fun house mirrors from carnivals of past. But in this case, there was no distortion or warping of any kind. Simply perfect repetition of perfect glass vessels. Moving to a side view of the display, I was surprised to see that just one row of vessels in a staggered formation was used to generate this seemingly infinite mirage. The artist's concept for this work suggests that it "attempts to depict the capitalist notion that all objects are eternally repeatable, that everything can be remanufactured endlessly without regard to era, geography, or culture".  I decide to leave behind the weighty questions of capitalism just dwell in just the visual itself. Over time I am pulled deeper into the mirrored facade and wishing I could walk back as far as my eyes can see. This wouldn't be the first time I have wanted to take up residence in a work of art. But more about that in my future post "Top Five Paintings I Want to Live In".


  1. Enjoying your blog. Please keep up with this wonderful project. What made you decide to do it?

  2. Thanks Laura. I wanted to connect with people about the visual world in a venue more open than Facebook. I also hope that this exercise will help push me into creating art again. There is a disconnect for me and I know I need to push through it and let myself find the comfort that art provides me.


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