On View at Perry Neighborhood Park, 4900 Fairview Drive, Austin, TX 78731
The Contemporary Austin’s Museum Without Walls program brings art beyond the walls of the museum and out into the community in new ways and in diverse venues.
The Perry Art Park project is a partnership with the neighborhood group Friends of Perry Park and the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department to create a small-scale sculpture park in Perry Neighborhood Park. Other projects include an ongoing partnership with Waller Creek Conservancy to bring significant public art projects to the developing string of parks along Waller Creek in downtown Austin, with Ai Weiwei: Forever Bicycles on view beginning June 3, 2017.
As if drawing in space, Texas-born artist Peter Reginato (American, born 1945) creates semi-figurative sculptures by arranging organic shapes, hand-cut from flat planes of steel, into vibrant, dimensional forms. His biomorphic works—abstract yet recalling the natural world—balance welded elements in a vertical format without emphasizing any single point of view. Reginato draws inspiration from the Cubist and modernist painters and sculptors of the early twentieth century, such as Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, and Joan Miró. In this work, Reginato uses steel’s tensile strength to cantilever large elements over the sculpture’s base, creating the illusion of a heavy mass suspended in air. His eclectic combination of elliptical, jagged, and angular forms lends itself to a virtually infinite number of perspectives and incorporates the surrounding landscape into the sculpture’s composition.
Based in Coupland, Texas, artist Jim Huntington (American, born 1941) examines the dialogue between his intuitive sense of touch and form and the inherent character of stone and metal. The artist has described the challenge of creating sculpture that simultaneously defines and transforms materials in order to “manifest a metaphor of human feelings, reveries, and aspirations.” Since the late 1970s, Huntington has worked primarily with large blocks of granite partially formed through the quarrying process. This sculpture—named after quarryman Dayton Houey, who assisted Huntington in his process—is a play on perspective and scale that is simultaneously solid, hollow, and fragile. A series of drill marks on the interior wall and along the outer corner references the work’s industrial origins. The stark contrast between raw, organic materials and those forged by heavy industry highlights the ancient and ongoing impulse to build and make marks upon the natural world.
Betty Gold (American, born 1935) has said she often begins her rugged steel sculptures “with the simple act of folding paper.” This technique of using paper maquettes as sketches for her work allows her to deconstruct and reassemble the flat rectangle’s parts into a new whole, one “based on the linear geometry of rotating movement.” Working in a modernist vein, the Austin-born artist investigates the possibilities of geometric abstraction by exploring the relationships between simple shapes. For Alas #IV, Gold designed sheets of painted folded steel that extend from the sculpture’s center to interact with the surrounding space. The work’s title refers to alas, the Spanish word for wings—inspired by, as the artist has noted, “angels unfolding their wings on the verge of flight.” The dramatic contrasts between light and shadow at different times of day may also recall fleeting aerial elements such as birds, kites, or paper airplanes.
Special thanks to Friends of Perry Park and the Austin Parks Foundation.