Thursday, October 15, 2009
Van Alstine's "Sisyphean Holiday XVI," 2009, riverstone/slate/pigmented
steel and is 5-by-17-by-8 inches.
is on view at the John Davis Gallery
Alstine brings Sisyphus down a notch
By TIM KANE, Special to the Times Union
First published in print: Thursday, October 15, 2009
35 years, John Van Alstine's muscular granite and steel sculptures have
returned time and again to the myth of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill
only to be doomed to repeat the task for eternity once reaching the top.
The Adirondack artist views the fable as a commentary on the creative
inspiration derived from the process of making art, not punishment as
portrayed in the Greek legend. To Van Alstine, endless toil is as redemptive
as the result.
One of a handful of American artists commissioned for the Beijing Olympics,
Van Alstine is unveiling a series of smaller pieces dubbed "Sisyphean
Holiday" at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson.
Known for his large-scale works heavy with seriousness, Van Alstine's
newest efforts are tinged with humor. Steel boats placed on sloping granite
careen off the edge as if floating downstream in a wild river adventure.
Sisyphus never had so much fun.
Gone are Van Alstine's signature rings of steel representing endless cycles.
His large, angular stones signifying fortitude and resolve are replaced
by more relaxed curves. Yet each boat in the new series does carry a rock,
a sign this is merely a vacation.
Davis Gallery directions
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, Oct.17, 6-8 pm
works in the exhibit