TULSA, OK.- Tulsa's Philbrook Museum of Art will present Josiah McElheny's "Landscape Models for Total Reflective Abstraction," made of glass reflective surfaces that create a fundamental invisibility which evokes self-reflection. The exhibit opens March 20 and McElheny is the second artist in a new Philbrook contemporary series, Focus.
Executive Director Brian Ferriso said, "This is truly a provocative exhibit in which viewers can involve themselves and emerge with a new reflection on their own reality. Josiah is a serious master of the invisible, the unseen, and we are very proud and fortunate to be able to bring this exhibit to Tulsa."
"My creations blur the boundaries between art and craft," explained McElheny. "They suggest everything from modern Italian glass design to medieval reliquaries. Some have said they are humorously fanciful, even romantic."
McElheny is interested in engaging with his audience in a total visual experience. Produced in industrial mirror, hand blown "mirrored" glass and other reflective materials, the design of the two "Landscape Models for Total Reflective Abstraction" on exhibit at the Philbrook are loosely based on Isamu Noguchi's influential table designs of the 1940s. The objects on the tables are also pared down from sculptural forms made famous by Noguchi.
In "Landscape Models for Total Reflective Abstraction," McElheny drew inspiration from an ongoing dialogue between Buckminster Fuller and Isamu Noguchi in the late 1920s. Fuller, an inventor, engineer, architect, designer and philosopher met the sculptor Isamu Noguchi in the late 1920s and together they embarked upon a discourse about reflection and invisibility. They wondered if it was possible to make a completely reflective surface on an object and if, by doing so, that object would become invisible by virtue of its total reflectivity.
As Fuller later described, "Isamu did not think of reflective sculptures as shiny alternate models of negative-light sculptures. What he saw that others did not see was that completely reflective surfaces provided a fundamental invisibility of the surface. This fundamental invisibility was that of utterly still waters whose presence can be apprehended only when objects surrounding them are reflected in them. Isamu saw here an invisible sculpture, hidden in and communicating through a succession of live reflections of images surrounding it."
Josiah McElheny lives and works in New York. He studied with master glassmakers Jan-Erik Ritzman in Sweden and Lino Tagliapietra in Italy. His work was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Site Santa Fe, 2001 and Young Americans at Saatchi Gallery, London. Solo Exhibitions include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, and Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compestela, Spain. His work is included in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. McElheny is currently completing a Visual Artist Residency at the Wexner Art Center, Columbus, Ohio.