Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ilan Averbuch :: Shadow of the Sun

Ilan Averbuch
Shadow of the Sun (Sombra del Sol), 1986

Stone and water (paving stones from New York City)
48” diameter circle
Location: Nightingale Rooftop
Acquisition: 2003 In Memory of K.C. Grellman, Gift to the NMA from the K.C. Grellman Fund

Shadow of the Sun is a circle of rough stones with a chiseled channel to collect water. Circular stone enclosures are a common – even ancient – focus for ritual or ceremony. Unlike heaps or piles of stones, circles are deliberate and have some aesthetic characteristics. When there is water in the sculpture there are allusions to ancient aqueducts, and agricultural irrigation systems. In looking at Averbuch’s sun circle, one is invited to walk all around it, to experience the rays going out in all directions. One may also have the urge to look up to the open expanse of sky above the space where the sculpture is installed. Most days it is a bright open space, but can also evoke feelings of a secure closed-in place for meditation.

Ilan Averbuch was born in Tel Aviv in 1953. He was educated in New York and has exhibited in the U.S., Canada, Europe, India and Israel. His themes are civilization and its history, and its interaction with nature. His outdoor sculptures make use of heavy, dense materials such as stone, lead, and chunky wooden beams. However, his indoor installations are of paper and glass, often balanced against strong, serious elements like iron and copper, with elegant results. In a 1997 interview with Sculpture magazine, Averbuch described his pieces as having archeological and architectural content, and discussed the influence of his Israeli heritage in his work. He lives and works in Long Island City, New York.

Note prepared by Kathleen Durham and Lois Smalley.