"It is about line, color, shape, texture and sound," says
Like the 2013 exhibit, this one is being held at the Walters while the usual venue, the
Chosen by a jury earlier this year, the seven finalists are vying for the
"Last year, we had a lot of framed work and a lot of social commentary from the finalists," says
The differences include a revolving moped, bowling balls, turntables, knives and forks, a 19th-century hymn book, an 18th-century bust, a bow tie and AstroTurf -- just some of the objects incorporated into an exhibit that seems intent on engaged multiple senses.
The tactile nature of this year's exhibition (extra "do not touch" signs may be needed) is evident right at the start with the work of
The eye is immediately drawn to "Slow Burn (full circle)," which consists of a 1979 Motobecane moped perched atop a white, stationary, circular platform. An electric current connects to a device that very slowly engages the rear wheel. In the space of about two hours, the moped makes a complete rotation, leaving a rubbery smudge as it goes.
There's something wry about the work, a quality that carries over into the rest of Dawson's entry, including a series of shiny aluminum pieces mounted on the wall. They're made from decommissioned aluminum road signs that gain a certain energy from what appear to be pockmarks from bullet holes.
Also eye-catching are bright-colored, mixed media sculptures of
"There is something inherently clown-y or playful about the work," Mintz says. "And of all the artists, Kyle was perhaps the most concerned with perfection in terms of the alignment of the pieces. I can't tell you how many times we rotated a work an eighth of an inch to get the right position he wanted."
Bauer was just as painstaking in the arranging and balancing of the elements in each sculpture, including porcelain objects that suggest inverted bowling pins or fishing lures. A couple of the works are adorned with streamers. "Cynosure I" has a witty base covered in AstroTurf.
In terms of playfulness, it would be hard to beat
"He's been working on experimental sound in
The experimentation on view here involves kinetic, sometimes delectably noisy music-making devices constructed out of myriad objects. When connected to power sources, they percolate and communicate with an apparent randomness and volatility that would have delighted sonic guru
The intricately constructed objects include "The Rube Goldberg Variations," an assemblage consisting of turntable parts, film projectors, speakers and cigar boxes. "The Anaplumb," an instrument invented by Feather, incorporates magnets, a bowling ball, electromagnetic pickups and more.
There is a subtle musical element to the multifaceted work of
Tata's glance to the past provides a smooth link to the remaining finalists, who are all about history, memory and legacy.
The artist sought objects that revealed people kept in slavery or servitude -- a 17th-century Flemish "Bust of an African Boy," an ancient Egyptian wall fragment depicting slaves and staffs, etc. She then infused them into the installation, "Precarious Prototypes," which seems to float in and out of drapery panels painted by Adams with still more images that address the theme.
The examination of this thorny issue continues on the opposite wall in a vibrant group of gouache and acrylic drawings on paper of images, some from "Precarious Prototypes," that include Adams' analytical messages written beneath.
The written word also turns up in
Perhaps the most touching component is a vintage walnut chair given to the artist by her grandmother, here floating upside down on a rod attached to a black wall. That blackness has a story, too.
"The artist incinerated another chair and used the ashes as a pigment to paint the wall," Mintz says.
One more reason the 2014 Sondheim Finalists exhibit compels attention.
If you go
The Janet and Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Finalists Exhibition runs through
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