On a Thursday gallery run on West 24th, a sculpture made of mechanical parts started flailing its feathered arms stopped me on my tracks. That is the beauty of the gallery row in Chelsea, you may be running off somewhere and end up in a totally different place. This accidental pit stop was well worth it as Arte Fuse took a gander at the work of pioneering artist, Alan Rath, with his reception last March 1, 2012 at Bryce Wolkowitz gallery for his exhibition “Skinetics”.
Alan Rath created a distinctive mechanical body of work that is sculptural with moving parts and interactive media. This is all a profound study of how we communicate with slight gestures of the hands, the blink of an eye or twitch of the mouth. Clearly this is where art and technology seamlessly meld into a very thoughtful collection. Each art piece is constructed and made very well as something you can find in a sci-fi movie or an avant-garde robotics lab. Aesthetics aside, one is compelled to consider the idea that Rath’s concerted efforts to meticulously program the image and synching the media so that both elements come together into a very concrete work of art.
Most of the artwork on view at the gallery includes new pieces that came directly from the artist’s studio in San Francisco. His most recent artwork: Yes, Yes, Yes (2012) resembles a tree-like creature with moving arms that whip around and about in sporadic sequences over time. Scanner VIII (2012) contains screens with eyes while Read My Lips (2012) with multiple images of the mouth are explorations of human movement that is a detailed study in how we communicate. In all these robotic sculptures, there is a human factor imbued in the work that Rath successfully achieves. These works are three-dimensional and does not rely on the screens to convey the idea of communication without the premium of spoken word.
There is a playful nature in the exhibited pieces and indeed the viewer will be engaged in examining Rath’s mechanical body of artwork. All the bells and whistles are only skin deep but what is not being said should resonate audibly.
Alan Rath: Skinetics
Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery 505 West 24th Street New York, NY 100011
Exhibition Dates: March 1 – April 7, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan