KEITH SONNIER / Elysian Plain + Early Works

The new Keith Sonnier show of both early works and his Elysian Plain series at Pace is sensational. As a great admirer of his illuminated and sensual sculptures it was an eye opening experience to see the new works alongside his 1969 “Neon Wrapping Neon VI and IV” and 1970 “Ba-O-Ba V” elegant glass composition.  As you enter the right front gallery of Pace the nine new Elysian Plain works that were created in his Bridgehampton studio are positioned in a grid of three zones.

zig zag square 2013, neon, enamel paint, glass, aluminum, electrical transformer 8' x 9'-11" x 9 1/2"
zig zag square 2013, neon, enamel paint, glass, aluminum, electrical transformer 8′ x 9′-11″ x 9 1/2″
Lobbed shape 2013, neon, acrylic, enamel paint, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 8'-5 1/4" x 8'-5" x 14 3/4"
Lobbed shape 2013, neon, acrylic, enamel paint, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 8′-5 1/4″ x 8′-5″ x 14 3/4″
mirrored slant 2013, neon, glass mirror, acrylic, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 9'-6 1/2" x 76 1/2" x 17"
mirrored slant 2013, neon, glass mirror, acrylic, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 9′-6 1/2″ x 76 1/2″ x 17″
detail of mirrored slant
detail of mirrored slant
Elliptically lobbed 2013, neon, acrylic, enamel paint, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 10' 1 1/2" x 88" x 10 1/2"
Elliptically lobbed 2013, neon, acrylic, enamel paint, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 10′ 1 1/2″ x 88″ x 10 1/2″
torso trunk 2013, neon, acrylic, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 9'-6" x 88" x 4"
torso trunk 2013, neon, acrylic, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 9′-6″ x 88″ x 4″

Standing inside the center section with all of the works around me, I was stunned at the sculptures and their material strength and Sonnier’s evolution from incandescent light and sheer fabrics to his mastery of neon, acrylic, glass and mirror. The surfaces reflecting other sculptures as well as shining brightly onto the polished concrete floor inspired me for many projects to come in my own work. I pondered how I could incorporate all of these materials and the qualities they possess with the same mastery that Keith Sonnier has captured in these beautiful new works.

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schmoo-o.g.v 2013, neon, acrylic, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 10'-11" x 92 3/4" x 4"
schmoo-o.g.v 2013, neon, acrylic, aluminum, electrical wire and transformer 10′-11″ x 92 3/4″ x 4″

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Peeking out of the back of the gallery I could see the older work “Ba-O-Ba V” centered in the rear of the space.  It truly is a masterpiece of composition and such an interesting work with the two circular glass elements reflecting the neon colored light tubes like skin.  Opposite the larger work are “Neon Wrapping Neon VI” and “Neon Wrapping Neon IV” in the corners.  These two more architectural sculptures fluidly capture color, surface and volume brilliantly in linear elements that twist and turn as they change hue.

ba-o-bav 1970, neon, glass, electrical wire and transformer 84" x 17' x 18"
ba-o-bav 1970, neon, glass, electrical wire and transformer 84″ x 17′ x 18″

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neon wrapping neon vi 1969, neon, electrical wire and transformer 73" x 43" x 67"
neon wrapping neon vi 1969, neon, electrical wire and transformer 73″ x 43″ x 67″
neon wrapping neon iv 1969, neon, electrical wire and transformer 87 1/2" x 72 3/4" x 42 1/2"
neon wrapping neon iv 1969, neon, electrical wire and transformer 87 1/2″ x 72 3/4″ x 42 1/2″

Don’t miss this mesmerizingly beautiful show!

Keith Sonnier / Elysian Fields + Early Works is currently on view at Pace Gallery 510 West 25th Street in New York.
www.pacegallery.com
www.keithsonnier.com

 

 

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