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James Dinerstein
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Greenpoint

Media:Sculptural;
Genre:Abstract;


ARTIST STATEMENT: My work grows equally from an involvement with modern abstract sculpture and my feeling for ancient art. On one hand, it aims to restore to abstract sculpture the resources of plasticity and mass; on another, to recapture the spiritual weight and potency I experience in archaic form. The sculptures in the Newtown Creek Series are built up directly in concrete in successive layers, massing in and establishing contours while the cement is malleable, and refining surfaces with stone tools as the mixture gets progressively harder. While table-scaled, they command the space around them. The individual pieces communicate with one another, revealing radically differing perspectives as you move 360º around them — surprising enfoldments of space, line and surface. I’ve come to think of them as a kind of palpable chamber music — a gesture of form and space, surface and incised drawing, revealed through a deep chiaroscuro — that I hope rewards prolonged and focused viewing. By combining two kinds of sculptural articulation — plastic modeling in concert with the enjambment of discrete elements — they aim to define a visual language as richly abstract, as directly expressive and accessible as music. Plastic motifs are announced and answered, transformed and repeated in different rhythms and scales, in ways comparable to musical counterpoint, a kind of sculptural polyphony. My deep intuition is that really good work can’t be made without the ambition to renew the past, to stand on the same ground as the best art from earliest times. I’ve long been drawn to the world of archaic form-making (Egyptian, Greek), while inevitably my formal vocabulary grows more immediately out of the tradition of 20th century abstraction. This new work, I feel, has opened a language that can do justice to both realms.
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