Monday, August 11, 2008

Snyder represents Providence at Olympics

A sculpture by Dean Snyder of Providence, who heads RISD’s sculpture department, is one of 130 artworks in the “Beijing Olympic Art Dream” exhibit for the 2008 summer games at Beijing’s Olympic Park on the grounds of the new National Aquatic Center.

The outdoor exhibit opened to the public on Aug. 8. Snyder tells me, “It’s kind of there in perpetuity because it’s part of the collection of the city of Beijing. They own it.” Though it may not remain in that location.

The project began when Olympic folks contacted him out of the blue last September, apparently after reviewing his work on his website. They wound up deciding to create an enlarged copy of his 2001 sculpture “Boogle,” which was featured in the 2001 DeCordova Annual. Based on Snyder’s photos of the piece, which is in rawhide and wood, expert stoneworkers at Feixiang Architectural Sculpture Co. in Beijing created a clay maquette to prepare to carve the final version in stone. He visited the firm in October 2007 to check on their progress. The process has been a first for the studio sculptor, who usually fabricates his own work.

Closer to home, Snyder also has nine new sculptures on view through Aug. 31 at Skidmore College’s Tang Museum, which describes them as “a fusion of organic sources and high-tech materials, using carbon fibers for structure and glossy auto enamels to dazzling visual effect.”

My review of Snyder’s show at Providence’s Wheeler Gallery in 2007.
Someone else’s review of the 2001 DeCordova Annual: “In both of Snyder’s three-dimensional works, the artist plays volume and mass against near-weightlessness; he also plays luminosity against opacity — though peppered with wooden embellishments, the sewn and stretched rawhide of both Joop and its pincushion cousin, Boogle, practically glows.”

Pictured from top to bottom: A Chinese carver creating the maquette for “Boogle”; the original “Boogle”; the stone copy at the factory and in the Olympic Park; and a detail of “Almost Blue” (detail), 2008, which is on view at the Tang Museum.


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