Times Union                               Thursday, October 15, 2009


 John Van Alstine's "Sisyphean Holiday XVI," 2009, riverstone/slate/pigmented steel and is 5-by-17-by-8 inches.

 It is on view at the John Davis Gallery

Van Alstine brings Sisyphus down a notch
By TIM KANE, Special to the Times Union
First published in print: Thursday, October 15, 2009

For 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.

John Davis Gallery directions                                                  OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, Oct.17, 6-8 pm 

Other works in the exhibit

Artist Statement