Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Alternative Space: Robert Greenberg

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Alternative Space: Robert Greenberg
Oct. 28-29, 2006.

Many of you have seen one of Robert Greenberg's works but not known it. Familiar with the painting of the big tree frog in the window of the Acme Building on Crown Street in New Haven's Ninth Square? That's his. But the work he was showing in one of the big rooms off the gymnasium at the Alternative Space was quite different.

Greenberg, who maintains studios in New Haven and New York, displayed a number of large mobiles from his Ancient Aquatic series. With the room lights low, he suspended sculptures made out of driftwood. He set industrial lights on the floor so the works cast shadows on the dirty white cinder block walls. Greenberg also set up fans to propel the mobiles into gentle motion. They resembled fossils, and the shadows reminded me of phantoms.

"I love Calder's work. It's a big influence. And I also love Robert Rauschenberg. I put found object and kinetic sculpture together," said Greenberg.

Greenberg's New York apartment is near Riverside Park. He walked down to the Hudson River one day and saw the wood and brought it back to his apartment. (A slide show included images of him pushing a grocery cart loaded up with bleached driftwood.) He arranges pieces out on his 18th floor balcony and then goes up to the roof of his building-the 24th floor-and photographs it. He scans the photo into his computer to formulate the piece. For smaller pieces, Greenberg uses monofilament, or fishing line, to connect the disparate components. Larger works are held together with 49-strand stainless steel shark leader. (They have to be strong enough so if a child tries to swing on them, they hold together.)

"There are two influences to these pieces. When I was a kid, I would go to the Peabody Museum. There was [the fossil of] a giant turtle up on end. As a child, I loved that turtle," said Greenberg. The other influence was a "giant totem pole they used to have at the West Rock Nature Center."

"When I find these things, they look like bones to me. And when they blow in the wind they become animated," Greenberg said. "I don't think Calder used shadows as much." He noted that the shadows change, becoming more defined as the wood rotates closer to the wall, and more diffuse as it rotates away.

He doesn't name them individually.

"I just see them as these creatures that came from the ancient Hudson," said Greenberg.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole sight is great! Having missed most of the Alternative Space weekend, it's good to read about it here through your trained eye.

- Craig Gilbert

12:14 PM


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