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Place(s) of work: New York (us)
Alice Aycock is an American sculptor known for theoretically complex site-specific works that are at once emotional and architectural, mining diverse sources of inspiration ranging from the environmental preoccupations of Land Art to popular forms of entertainment (amusement parks in particular), obscure literary sources, and sci-fi elements. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Aycock received her M.A. in 1971 from Hunter College in New York, where she studied with the Minimalist sculptor Robert Morris. Aycock's father, a construction engineer, was another influence on her work, as was Donald Judd, conceptual art, and post-Modernism. “For me,” Aycock once said, “art is a conversation that artists have with other artists.”
A member of New York's avant-garde downtown scene in the 1970s, Aycock was drawn to the Land Art movement from early on, making site-specific works from earth, wood, stone, and other natural materials that were influenced by phenomenology, or a desire to engage with the real rather than the virtual. One early piece, Sand/Fans (1971), placed four fans around a giant mound of sand, creating a man-made interaction between natural elements; for another piece, Maze (1972), Aycock made one of her many ventures out of the gallery space, building a wooden labyrinth on a farm in Pennsylvania. In the 1980s, Aycock began to employ industrial materials like steel, with allusions to the growing presence of machines in our lives. Architecture, too, has been a consistent concern of Aycock’s work: “Not functional architecture,” Aycock has clarified, “but architecture as an umbrella from which you could hang many things—psychology, history, or culture.” Yet her structures resemble functional architecture, too, in the way they envelope and redefine a space.
Over the years, Aycock has earned a reputation for grappling with conceptual, scientific, and philosophical questions in a stunningly inventive sculptural language. “It bothers me if I don’t have some problem to work on that I don’t understand," she once said. "That’s when I become unhappy.” Aycock is currently a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her large-scale public works are home in cities across America, including New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.
Watch a SculptureCenter video about an exhibition on Land Art and Feminism, of which Aycock was a part:(read less)
Techniques & Media: Installation, Sculpture
Inspirations & Key Themes: Architecture, futuristic, industrial, Post Modernism, site specificity
Influenced by : Donald Judd
Studied under : Robert Morris
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February 12th 2010 - April 28th 2010
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