Think of metal sculpture, and whether the image that comes to mind is a general on a horse or a twisting, arcing abstract, the same adjectives usually apply: solid, heavy, imposing, rigid. Alyson Shotz turns those notions on their head with her sculptures- flexible, shimmering works that evoke natural scenes in gallery settings.
Shotz’s latest piece, “Plane Weave,” was created specifically for the Morris Gallery at PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts), responding to the light streaming in from the skylight overhead as well as to the mosaic tilework that occurs throughout the Academy’s Historic Landmark Building. The tapestry-like sculpture is made up of thousands of small pieces of punched aluminum and stainless steel rings, allowing the metallic piece to flex like fabric or rippling waves.
“It’s almost a collaboration in a way between me and the light,” Shotz says of the piece. “I wouldn’t say my work is about the materials -- it’s about how those materials act in concert with physical forces of nature like gravity and light.”