Daily Art Moment: Alwyn O’Brien

An open-work, vertical sculpture evoking the shape of a vase in creamy white. The surface is composed of oval clay loops that connect irregularly to create a highly textured lace-like body that sits on four folded clay coils. The structure appears to lean slightly to the left in this view and shows clay loops both crowded and compressed in areas like upper right and stretched and spaced in the lower left part of the sculpture. This gives the work an organic quality of perhaps coral or a sea creature.

On first glance, Alwyn O’Brien’s sculpture might resemble a vase. O’Brien opens up the typically solid vessel shape by piecing together hand-rolled coils of clay. She loops, elongates, twists, and weaves the strands to suggest a jumble of energetic motion. The title is like a short poem evoking multiple meanings; the words can be read either as nouns or verbs, as past or present. Speak the title out loud to experience how the sounds also twist and turn on your tongue into your ear.

Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

View from above looking into the sculpture. The nature of the clay loop shapes and how they connect to each other is clearly visible and they can be seen spiraling down into the sculpture. The “rim” of the vase shape shows loops that are twisted, overlapped, and pressed together to form the structure. The bottom half of the work is slightly out of focus in this view.

Alwyn O’ Brien (Canadian, born 1975), Wound, Wind, Wound, 2014. Porcelain and clay. Gift of John and Shari Behnke, 2018.43.3 © unknown, research required.

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