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As part of a series to re-introduce you to Storm King’s collection and to ask for your annual support, our curators are sharing stories from their collaboration with artists over the years. Please consider a gift today, which helps us achieve a central part of our mission: supporting artists and their most ambitious works.
Below, Storm King’s Senior Curator Nora Lawrence shares her recollections of the artist Alyson Shotz and the journey of her work Mirror Fence at Storm King.
“My interest in the properties of light originated looking through microscopes, looking though camera lenses and telescope lenses and seeing things differently though instruments. I believe a lot of my work using mirrors in the landscape is a kind of lens making…creating an instrument of seeing.” —Alyson Shotz
Alyson Shotz studied geology for two years before becoming an artist, and began her artistic work as a photographer, so looking through lenses—be that a telescope or a camera—is part of how she sees the world.
Mirror Fence first showed at Storm King as part of our 50th Anniversary Exhibition, 5+5: New Perspectives in 2010 - 2011, and from the very beginning at Storm King, it was a huge draw for people of all ages. I started at Storm King in 2011, and Alyson agreed to allow us to include the work in my first exhibition, Light and Landscape in 2012. This exhibition focused on works that change with the movement of the sun, and how no two experiences at Storm King are alike.
What I love about the work is the same as what so many of our visitors have also said: Mirror Fence is so responsive, so active—it is so giving. Much of the work Alyson makes is activated by movement both that of the sun, and of visitors’ movement around it. Mirror Fence embodies that focus so beautifully.
Mirror Fence also speaks to a particular American icon—the picket fence. Alyson crafted this work to match the exact proportions of the regular white picket fence, with its iconic relationship to suburbia, private property, and its place in the American Dream. As you walk along it there is a “flickering” along the mirrored surface, as light and your body interact with the work, speaking to how the American Dream is there, and not there, always slightly out of grasp. But Alyson has also strongly expressed that Mirror Fence is not a fence that encloses anything; it’s not a boundary, it’s a line in the landscape, that imaginatively could go on forever.
After the success of the 50th Anniversary and Light and Landscape exhibitions, everyone agreed that Mirror Fence should become part of Storm King’s permanent collection. We worked closely with Alyson to refabricate the work for permanent display, which was a creative and rich time for all of us.
You can find Alyson Shotz’s Mirror Fence to the south of Museum Hill. A site map can be found here.
Come and experience, or revisit, Alyson Shotz’s Mirror Fence this season and make a contribution to the care and maintenance of this work and others in Storm King’s permanent collection.
About Alyson Shotz
Alyson Shotz lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her work Mirror Fence, 2003 (refabricated 2014) first appeared at Storm King in 2010/11 as part of its 50th Anniversary Exhibition: 5+5: New Perspectives and in 2012 in the Exhibition Light and Landscape. Her work is included in numerous public collections, such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and The Guggenheim Bilbao, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN. She was included in the recent exhibition “Art & Space” at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and has been included in exhibitions such as “The More Things Change”, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ”Contemplating the Void” and “The Shapes of Space”, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and “Living Color”, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC and “Pattern: Follow the Rules” at the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. She has had solo exhibitions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN, The Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX, and Espace Louis Vuitton, Tokyo, among others.