20th Century Sculpture

Ione Thorkelsson, Oviposter: Vessel, 1998

As with painting, sculpture underwent radical transformation in the 20th century as sculptors pushed their practices in previously unimagined directions. This exhibition brings together 20 works by the same number of artists to demonstrate sculpture’s physical and theoretical evolution through the last 100 years.

This exhibition features work by artists like Alexander Archipenko who, early in the century, used sculpture to represent fluctuating and multi-angled interactions, rather than simply static objects. Visitors will also encounter works by mid-century expressionists like Lynn Chadwick, Pop artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Tony Urquhart, and a selection of conceptual artists including Sol LeWitt, and Yves Klein.

Another feature of 20th century art made apparent by this exhibition is the increasing overlap that occurred between the traditionally segregated realms of fine art and craft. Some important figures who had gained reputations for their facility as painters or sculptors, such as Pablo Picasso, became equally adept as ceramic artists. Conversely, ceramic artists like Don Reitz and Akio Takamori began challenging the conventional boundaries that divided an object’s purely functional, utilitarian, value from its aesthetic, artistic, value.

By the end of the century it proved less important for artists to self-identify as sculptors or craftspeople, and more important for them to make use of whatever materials and processes would best accommodate their ideas and render them tangible. Today, the legacy of the artistic developments of the 20th century is reflected in our inability to simply mean traditional sculpture when we speak of three-dimensional fine art.



Joe Fafard, Manitoba, 1988


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