Author: Robert Hobbs
Number of Pages: 400
Alice Aycock's large, semi-architectural works deal with the interaction of structure, site, materials, and the psychophysical responses of the viewer. Offered meaningful but contradictory clues by both her images and her texts, viewers attempt to discover not only what the work of art conveys but how it communicates its contents, in investigations that parallel the artist's own. In Alice Aycock: Sculpture and Projects Robert Hobbs examines the development of Aycock's work over twenty years and her negotiation - along with other artists who came of age in the early 1970s - of the transition from modernism to postmodernism. "The problem," wrote Aycock in 1977, "seems to be how to connect without connecting." Hobbs describes Aycock's strategies for doing just this: for creating a work with disparate image and texts that offer a new perspective on reality. Influenced by the "specific objects" of minimalism's hybrid forms and by conceptualism's emphasis on language, Aycock relies on paradigms, cybernetics, phenomenology, physics, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, information overload, outdated scientific thinking, and computer programming to create a "complex" that is architectural and sculptural as well as mental and emotional. Schizophrenia can be seen as a metaphor for the disconnections of postmodernism and a specific inspiration for Aycock's method. Having discovered the case of N. N., a schizophrenic whose poignant and vivid descriptions of his condition she found in a little-known study, Aycock employs allusive texts that disperse a work's meaning so that its content is controlled by disparate outside forces. Hobbs shows how the disjunctions of Aycock's disconcerting and exciting work reveal a new space between juxtaposed views, inviting the viewer to glimpse unimagined possibilities.