Friday, September 7, 2007

Ursula von Rydingsvard at PAM

I saw the Ursula von Rydingsvard sculpture and drawings on my way to first Thursday. I thought the huge cedar sculpture was comical. Though it is so massive, it's also playful, and puts me in a mood to respond accordingly. It brought to mind a few reactions, none that have much to do with art.

For one, I thought about the commercial from Ren and Stimpy:
"It's log, it's log,
It's big, it's heavy, it's wood.
It's log, it's log, it's better than bad, it's good."

I wanted to put walnuts, jawbreakers, or snaps under the massive lid that rises and clunks down every few seconds. I don't necessarily think these are silly reactions, because the sculpture begs for help from the viewer, to make it something more than it is. Sensing that its action falls short of the promise of its mass, I want to give it another purpose.

A giant beaver coffin? Is he prematurely entombed, and trying to get out?

I think the motion suggests not so much a human back bending, but a box lid trying to open, but failing for lack of strength. It's as though the effort to overcome the massive weight is just too much. I'm so used to seeing hydraulic cars that bounce, a big pile of logs that barely get up seems anemic.

Remember the Log Lady from Twin Peaks? I plan to see von Rydingsvard give a presentation on 9/16. We'll see what I think, then.

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