Brickhead: Come and Gone

Ceramic Brick Installation at the Garner Arts Center [ New York ]

Sculptor James Tyler said it himself: “generally speaking, the word ceramic makes me think of a beautiful vase or a delicate tea service.” If that is your feeling as well, then I suggest you take a short drive up the Palisades Parkway to see the inaugural exhibition at GAGA. In this unique and dynamic exhibition, Tyler Blows the lid off of the teapot!

The sculpture consists of more than 300 individually shaped bricks stacked in concentric circles, layer upon layer. With a tactility reminiscent of the Tromp L’Oeil Bricks of Pompeii, the bricks create the haunting presence of a colossus of old. Approaching the installation, you hear the melodic chirping of crickets emanating from within…, a train roars through, thundering into our consciousness…, the here and now! But what comes must go. As the crickets return, a timeless repetition is thrust into the process. The viewer is transfixed, held by a visceral awareness of time unceasing.

It is this passage of time, juxtaposed with the earthy sensuality [the brickness] of the sculpture that subjects the participants to the hypnotic paradox of the work. The ponderous weight of the bricks, the ethereal nature of time. Permanence versus transience. While Tyler describes the work as: “an homage to the passing of the industrial age”. There can be little doubt that in his wonderful installation, BRICKHEAD: Come and Gone, Tyler has kept one eye keenly focused on our own collective mortality.

ART View            George Bobby Jones Ph.D.


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