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Alum’s Neurotic Machines at Bell Gallery
Meridith Pingree, Yellow Star
Pingree MFA 03 SC is a maker of geometric and jittery forms. Her mechanical kinetic
sculptures combine craft, technology and human interaction, physically tracking
the energy and movement of those who enter a space through motors or sensors.
whose work has been exhibited in shows from LA to New York to Miami and her
home state of Utah, is one of five contemporary artists featured in Nostalgia Machines at Brown University’s David
Winton Bell Gallery.
The show, which opened in November and runs through February 19, explores the
intersection of nostalgia and technology in contemporary sculpture.
a wide spectrum of materials and media, the five artists represented were
chosen for evocative, abstract works that play with demystifying and humanizing
technology. The artists allow “the
mechanics of their sculpture to be visible, effecting an atmosphere of
reflection or reminiscence, rather than the forward-looking quality associated
with technology,” notes Maya Allison, the former RISD Museum
curator who organized the show.
“The markedly un-mysterious [gears and wires they use] feel familiar, worthy of
nostalgia for a time before the computer screen veiled its technology.”
Pingree’s piece Umbrella
for instance. It’s a mixed media sculpture made of intersecting flat plastic shapes
suspended from a ceiling. Each angle of the torqued, bright green sculpture has
two motion sensors and a reverse motor, causing its components to move and
adjust with the energy and motion around it. The exhibit also features Pingree’s Yellow Star, an amoeba-like shape rigged with motions sensors that can
actually see itself move, triggering a chain reaction of movement as people
move through the space.
Umbrella Torque from Meridith Pingree on Vimeo.
“My work functions in
a way that is similar to many quasi-scientific devices like aura cameras and
mood rings,” Pingree says in her artist’s statement. “These displays exist on
the fringes of both science and art.” By building her reactive sculptures with “sprawling
electronic systems of brains and guts,” she is able to create pieces that
respond to human behavior and create “unconventional, complex portraits of
people and spaces.”
in New York, Pingree has shown at venues such
as the Bronx Museum, the James Nicholson Gallery and The Soap Factory, among
others, with recent solo exhibitions at Fringe Exhibitions in Los Angeles and
Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She has earned fellowships at Skowhegan and Smack
Mellon Studio, and been featured in Art
Week, The Brooklyn Rail, Vellum and the New
York Times. In a Times review of her Worm Decoy, made from power door-lock activators, hand-dyed
fishnet stockings, toy motion sensors, wire and wood, critic Benjamin Genocchio described the work as “a perfectly neurotic
machine: It twitches, jerks and squeaks at
random intervals, then slumps into stupor. I love it.”
tags: academic collaborations
Meridith Pingree's website