A catalogue essay for the exhibition “Atlantic Sculpture” held at
Art Center College of Design, June 8 through July 11, 1987
by Wade Saunders —
In this exhibition I’ve aimed to represent a Present in sculpture. Though not an exhaustive survey, nothing needed is missing. I chose the sculptors before selecting the objects. With different works the exhibition would still mean the same; with different artists it would not. The group is international — A. David Christian, Saint Clair Cemin, Joel Fisher, Win Knowlton, Joel Otterson, Not Vital, Alison Wilding, and myself; we are stepping outside local languages and understanding.
These sculptures do not represent. When the world appears it is as sculpture, not as itself. The works first give their meaning as things. Context may help us see them, but it does not significantly alter them. The pieces are made directly, and more simply than sculpture of the recent past. For centuries sculpture was at the edge of technology, now it’s at the edges of culture.
These sculptures are precise, are facts. In each the specificity and acuity of seeing is primary. Though bounded by words in this catalog, the sculptures remain largely outside of language in our memory. Seeing is here both regarded and re-regarded. Wholly absent are the approximations and evasions now so familiar in our mediated world.
As a generation we’ve developed largely absent any binding theory. Consequently our sculpture is often informal, the pieces consistent without being predictable, the commitment is to exploration rather than consolidation. Our aim as ever may be to transform the world, but our method is to transform sculpture, to something still, at once familiar and unknowable.
Past or hence we won’t again belong this closely together.