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The following is article from ArtNews magazine November, 1996 p. 132

How many sculptors can make their weighty creations look as though they could fly? John Van Alstine does it over and over again, using materials-often granite, steel, and bronze- more as colors in his palette than as heavy masses. Whether forming the foundation of his pieces or serving as an accent, texture is exploited in full. Van Alstine discovers ways in which sculpture can use characteristics usually found only in painting and drawing.

The 14 works in this recent exhibition continued the artist's exploration of balance and placement, which he began in the mid-1970s. Although he doesn't use the human figure, his pieces here were so graceful and sensuous that one felt almost surrounded by descendants of Degas's dancers.<

In the 110-inch-tall Labyrinth Trophy, Van Alstine placed a large bronze balla symbol of perfection-on a slab of granite and connected it to a birdlike form that looks set to fly away. Many of his smaller works in the "Implement" series had the same poetic impulse. Tools such as hatchets, hammers, and scoops are employed as fluid motifs, as though they were an extension of the artist's very own hands.

Water is another abiding symbol. In Fully Freighted, a small model of a boat found by the artist in the Adirondacks lies between two large pieces of granite, as if captured iiiid-voyage. Blue-green and sturdy, the boat looks as though it had grown out of the rocks. This kind of imaginative juxtaposition defines all of Van Alstine's work.


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