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MAY 3, 2007

Gallery-Going

By MAUREEN MULLARKEY

Bound & Buoyed By Time


 

 

 

 

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Metaphors of another kind are on view at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts. Brancusi's claim that all sculpture is water could stand as the motto for this exhibition. On show are eight elegant, abstract distillations of sailing vessels by the sculptor Arden Scott. Longitudinal and spare, they range from 3 1/2 to some 13 feet long.
A lifelong sailor, Ms. Scott lives in Greenport, an old fishing village on Long Island's North Fork. Engagement with her motifs — the hydrodynamic structure and grace of boats — is visceral. Without replicating any identifiable kind of boat, the work triggers associations with schooners, skiffs, sculls, canoes, longboats, or any craft man has devised to journey over water.
Freestanding, made mainly from bronze or steel, archetypal forms insinuate the architecture of hulls, the thrust of ballasts and riggings. Ms. Scott exploits the malleable qualities of metal with apparent ease. Her welded structures are spare juxtapositions of rods, steel mesh, and sheet metal that, in their economy, eliminate mass to convey buoyancy and speed. In some sense, these are not sculptures at all, but schematic designs in the air. But the austerity of them is balanced by an equal suggestiveness that lends imaginative weight to works that barely occupy space.
"Errand Upon the Bay" (2007) and "Semaphore" (2007), each with an upturned prow and stern, evoke hieroglyphs of ancient vessels on the Nile. "Colloquy" (2007) is particularly haunting. With steel muted by copper and stretched cloth, it resembles a relic left by primitive mariners.

 

 

 

© Arden Scott