Friday, April 27, 2007

In all the steel there was nature...

And in the nature there was steel?

A workmate of mine asked yesterday if I had seen the Roxy Paine trees in "shake shack park" (Madison Square Park) yesterday - I did remember that I had seen a report on the installation of his boulders, but had forgotten about the trees.

I stopped by yesterday on my way up to Hangawi -

As I came upon the park I could begin to glimpse the sinuous branches of stainless steel - visible in amongst the still bare branches of the towering trees in the park. The juxtaposition of the buildings, real trees and stainless steel branches was a stunning and sexy interplay of line and light. I am anxious to return to see the trees in different light and even at night. The best sculpture is the centerpiece of two wind blown trees leaning into each other - their sleek branches intertwining with one another.

The two other pieces - one a large stainless steel boulder and the other a more chunky tree sited in a dirt area of the park are less successful. I think this is a result of the pieces being less graceful. The centerpiece is a composition of movement and agility - which makes sense among the varied lines of the natural trees - and it is surprising given the sleek metal of which they are made.

Roxy has always fascinated me with his use of technology and high-tech materials to recreate and examine nature and natural processes. It strikes me as an interesting experiment in man's desire to control everything around him. I have a friend who has examined the role of artworks like Roxy's in contemporary society, I will have to get some commentary from her on this work.

The exhibition opens officially on May 15, but it is all up now, so you could catch the trees and the Bill Fontana sound piece at the same time (Fontana's piece is up until May 1).

Many thanks to Madison Square Park and the NYC Parks Dept for bringing this fantastic work to Shake Shack Park!

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