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Defying Gravity and Manufacturing Nature: Alexander Calder - Essay Example

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Defying Gravity and Manufacturing Nature: Alexander Calder

The two works on display at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia that have been created by Calder and will be discussed in this paper are Spider (1939) and Snow Flurry I(1948). The sculptural work Spider (1939) is created with sheet aluminum that was painted, steel wire and rod. It measures six feet and eight and one half inches by seven feet four and one half inches, by thirty-six and one half inches. The piece was a gift by the artist to the Artists Rights Society in New York in 1966. The piece shows lines and curves, the piece both uniform and varying in its movement. The pieces repeat as the spider’s legs might repeat, but no two appendages are the same. The shape has movement, articulating and undulating through each extension. The texture is almost flat for a sculpture, its individual pieces without a great deal of movement, but in its assembly becoming a symphony of movement as the piece breaths life as it crawls across the space in which it exists. The black color creates a contrast to its surrounding, a shadow of form that becomes a resemblance of life as it stands against a white background in its display. The balance of the piece takes on different aspects as it is viewed from a variety of angles. The work is in perfect balance as the larger singular pieces hang in contrast to its more delicate floating, wiry extensions. The composition is brilliant in its rhythm, the repeating curved motif drawing in the eye, as it writhes over and over on to the next smaller piece as it reflects is intended natural counterbalance. The rhythm is compulsory as it rolls over and over, each coming to a new end from which it starts once more. The proportion is light, yet impressively large as the work stands in a position of power, even in its delicate repose. The work does not overwhelm the viewer in dynamic displays of power, but rather like a spider calmly draws the viewer into its entangled, yet uniform embrace. It is balanced by a larger piece that sides to one end, with the repetition completing on the other end of the work, size against a multitude to create balance. There is a great deal of variety, but it is all unified by the repeating motifs of the curved rod and the flattened work of sheet metal. In contrast to the black of Spider is the white of Snow Flurry I. Snow Flurry I is a far more delicate work in which perfectly round circles of sheet metal are painted white and suspended on varying appendages in an almost fractal display. The piece is also painted sheet metal with the use of steel wires and rods to create a work that is similar in size to Spider with a measurement of seven feet ten inches by six foot ten and one quarter inches. This piece was also a gift of the artist to the Artists Rights Society in New York. The lines of the work seem to be spherical, but are not round. The round sheet metal pieces at the end of the appendages give the illusion of roundness, as does the movement of the piece, but on closer inspection the angles are fewer rounds than sharp, each movement created by the bend of the wire which forms a variation of an angled piece. The work is defined by its movement, this aspect being the most important part of the work ...Show more
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Summary

Defying gravity and manufacturing nature: Alexander Calder When Alexander Calder was asked if his work sanitized the machine, his response was that it did not, but that his work was not specifically inspired by the machine but by nature (Kuh, 1999). In looking at the work that Calder created, one sees both the industrialized world and the natural world as they form a symbiotic relationship…
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