Wednesday, April 18, 2012

OPTICAL CONCLUSIONS: Rafael Barrios on the Park Avenue Mall

Rafael Barrios' Sculpture at 57th street, three different views

Venezuelan artist Rafael Barrios explains that his sculptures are about “dislocating our perception in such a way that our mind’s eye will insist that you are seeing something that you are not.”

In early March 2012 when I first saw Barrios' sculpture pictured above I was walking towards 57th street from a few blocks away. At a distance it was almost disappointing to see these new sculptures on the Park Avenue Mall as I was reflecting on the previous year's Will Ryman sculptures with flowers and insects and how they reminded us that spring was on the way. These new sculptures were just shapes that seemed to be floating, ho hum. 

Side view looking west

Side view looking uptown

What works here though is that Barrios' sculptures are optically spectacular. They appear dimensional, but when viewed from all angles you'll realize the sculptures are actually very slim with hardly any volume at all. It seems every day I pass one the light has caught the shapes differently or an angle not realized before has been revealed. 

Looking west

Looking east
If you haven't walked down Park Avenue between 51st street and 67th street lately, you have until June 30th to see the sculptures in person. Highly recommended.