PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER

July 12, 2017

 

The Art of Movement at the
Westmoreland Museum of American Art

­—Veronica Corpuz

 

Upon crossing Greensburg’s Main Street Bridge, flanked by Janet Zweig’s recently installed “Analog Scroll¨” visitors are welcomed to The Westmoreland Museum of American Art by a beautiful grid of 440 shimmering stainless steel plates. The grid reflects sunlight and shadows of the landscape, creating a pixelated dance with the wind. Commissioned in 2015 by the Westmoreland Society, “Windframe,” by Tim Prentice, is a kinetic sculpture that inspired the museum’s current exhibition, The Art of Movement: Alexander Calder, George Rickey & Tim Prentice.

 

Logically, the first of the exhibition’s three groupings features the colorful and playful works of the pioneer who launched kinetic art in America, Alexander Calder…

 

Where Calder emphasized the gestural curves found in nature, George Rickey simplified his structures into linear forms, or what he called “blades”...

 

The square pattern found in [Rickey’s] “Unstable Cube VI” serves as a perfect visual and physical segue into the most vast and magical part of the gallery, where more than two dozen works by Tim Prentice dominate. Continuing in the tradition of Calder and the late Rickey, whom he calls “heroes,” the Connecticut‑based Prentice is also a masterful technician of wind velocity and gravity, melding the principles of his predecessors into a unique and sinuous vocabulary of his own. Where the two elders brought engineering know‑how to the field of sculpture, Prentice brings

a decisively architectural perspective from practicing in the field for more than a decade before, like Rickey, turning to sculpture at the age of 43.

 

With Prentice’s work there is much to take in — from the whimsical metal frogs and insects on pedestals to the whirling swoops of color and shape spinning upon the wall. But the essence of this collection hangs in space above the gallery and by a large bank of windows. A series of delicate Lexan, steel and aluminum squares gently sway on a varying latticework of wire, each pane reflecting light from the outside world. A striking departure from the grid of squares is “The Fuzz” (2005), a lush pin‑like steel curtain that spins slowly in front of the windows. These

works can be experienced and examined up close — activated with one’s breath — as well as pondered at a distance. Visitors are invited to lay upon a patch of artificial turf beneath “Scattery Cloud” (2017) to watch a constellation of Lexan and metal squares subtly do‑si‑do in space.