Alan Rath Electronic Art + Sculpture Exhibit (June 19-July 24)
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Submitted by the Event Organizer
June 19-July 24, 2021
In formally elegant yet winsome sculptures – almost every component of which he designed, machined, and programed himself – Alan Rath explored the relationship between technology and the human body and behavior. In this exhibition, Hosfelt Gallery surveys the 35-year oeuvre of the sculptor and electronic art pioneer, who died in October of 2020 at age 60. Spanning the entirety of the artist’s career and incorporating every type of work he made, this encyclopedic show navigates the breadth of an extraordinary practice.
Beginning in 1985, Rath made work with technical materials like aluminum, steel, wires, and circuitry, in combination with cathode ray tubes displaying computer-generated video animations of body parts – roving eyes, waving hands, or lips with protruding and wagging tongues. In all of these early works, their inner workings are, somewhat indecently, exposed.
By 1988, he began making sculptures with audio speakers, fascinated more by their motion than their ability to transmit sound; their movement uncannily simulates breathing as they puff, pant, vibrate, wheeze and throb. His passion for numbers led to pieces that endlessly count, or recite ?, or function as calendars or clocks. He programmed his robotic works with open-ended algorithms, so the sculptures constantly modify their own choreography. A piece from 1998 successfully anticipated driverless car technology by 20 years.
Though Rath’s works are revolutionary in their masterful blend of high tech with high art, the technology is always subservient to the form or concept of the sculpture itself. The works possess a charming humility, without a hint of bravado advertising Rath’s unquestionable technical proficiency. Every material and design decision is considered and impeccable. Nothing is there just for looks, yet nothing, no matter how functional, isn’t beautiful.
“Machinery is not unnatural,” Rath said in an interview. “It’s a reflection of the people who make it.”
Presented by Hosfelt Gallery