American Vistas: The Complete Works of John Van Alstine

BY TIM KANE, FOREWORD BY HOWARD FOX, AND CONTRIBUTION BY TOM MORAN

 

 

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but having new eyes."

MARCEL PROUST

For nearly forty years, John Van Alstine has created abstract sculptures forged from steel and stone. In American Vistas: The Complete Works of John Van Alstine, Tim Kane explores the sculptor's abstract landscapes that reveal the complex synergy between natural forces and man-made elements, conveying the American experience as both the confluence and conflict of wilderness and industrialization. Since the early nineteenth century, as the nation's westward expansion began in earnest, landscape artists have depicted this juxtaposition as a particularly American dichotomy, a friction between the vast expanses of wilderness and the march of progress—the Garden of Eden irrevocably altered by modernity and machinery.

Van Alstine's sculptures add to this epic dialogue by keenly expanding on the nineteenth-century narrative, while injecting contemporary ideas of abstraction, constructivism, found objects, and Cubist elements into the discussion to provide a framework both rational and evocative. The sculptor achieves unique and contemporary perspectives on themes that have engaged landscape artists for generations. He weaves elements of mythology, celestial navigation, implements, human figures, movement, urban forms, and found objects, while using motion, balance, and inertia to incorporate the eternal forces of gravity, tension, and erosion.

By grappling with the balance between stone and steel, the indoor, outdoor, and site-specific sculptures are measured and calculated, yet simultaneously poetic; their swooping angular lines create expansive spaces beyond the limits of their steel and stone frames, unveiling our collective history and imagination to illuminate a deft interplay of natural energies and the human experience. Including nearly 250 color and black-and-white plates, American Vistas: The Complete Works of John Van Alstine is an ambitious and richly illustrated survey of a bold, engaging, and timeless body of work.

 

Tim Kane is a journalist, independent curator, digital archivist, educator and art critic who has authored numerous articles and art reviews on contemporary artists. Howard N Fox is a former senior curatorial fellow of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and former curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. Tom Moran is chief curator and artis­ tic director at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. A sculptor in his own right, he has lectured on public art around the country. He has taught at Rutgers University as well as at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Hardcover

11 x 11½ inches 280 pages

250 color, plus 20 black and whiteFall 2017

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