Gallery Hopping: Jim Amaral’s Unsettling Sculpture at Agnès Monplaisir
It's a 'voyage between two darknesses,' according to the artist.
The unsettling yet elegant sculptures of Jim Amaral make a striking impression at Paris’s Galerie Agnès Monplaisir, where the Colombian-American artist is showing a selection of small and medium-scale bronze works.
It’s the sculptor’s first solo show with the dealer, but at 83 years of age, Amaral is no art world newbie. He’s worked in a variety of different mediums over the course of his decades-long career, mastering painting and drawing in addition to his work in metal sculpture.
Born in California, Amaral studied at Stanford University in San Jose and earned his masters at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan before moving to Bogotá in the early 1960s. He has lived there with his wife, textile artist Olga de Amaral, ever since.
Amaral’s most recent sculptures, heated and bathed in acid to create range of ash gray tones, depict strange vehicles and odd architectural constructs, some precariously balanced. Carousel: Moon (2014), for instance, seems to depict a fossilized garden with its dense growth of tiny stems, while tiny, faceless humans support monumental objects in the works Moon Pyramid (2013) and Riddle: Two Spheres (2014).
The artist’s celestial visions suggest a certain degree of otherworldliness, as if these structures originate from another time and place. His recurring use of the sphere, for instance, suggests lifeless planets in some far-off region of our universe.
As he makes his work, Amaral is preoccupied with larger matters than a simple sculpture, meditating on the mystery of the creative act and on death and eternity. “So often over the years, I have wondered what dying must be like, to leave one world of shadows only to pass into another kind of darkness, the darkness of death,” said Amaral in a statement.
“This strange fascination infuses my sculptural work, so the question truly haunts me,” he admitted. “No one has ever remarked on this aspect in my creation, and maybe it’s not even apparent. But this voyage between two darknesses has been the focus of all my labor.”
See more work from the exhibition below:
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