Motion & Motive
organized by Pamela Meredith
5 September to 12 October 2019
Eighty-eight years ago, Marcel Duchamp coined the term mobile for the hanging artworks of Alexander Calder. The word implied movement but was also a pun: ‘mobile’ in French means motive.
One year ago, Nancy Hass posited in the New York Times that artists have avoided making mobiles until recently as Calder’s legacy loomed too large. Perhaps so, but Pae White, Jim Hodges, Siobhan Liddell, Olafur Eliasson, Brian Jungen, Michael Snow, Mike Kelly and too many other notable artists to name were not deterred, and hung their artworks from the ceiling if that suited their motives.
Eighteen years ago I organized my first exhibition for Susan Hobbs Gallery. That exhibition, featherweight, explored how delicacy and strength, beauty and substance, subtlety and impact coexist meaningfully in works of art. I realize these are dichotomies that I return to again and again and here in Motion & Motive. featherweight included a mobile or two.
Motion & Motive commits fully to the ceiling for support. The architecture of Susan Hobbs Gallery has always called out for artworks that engage the soaring height. The mobiles in Motion and Motive compel the viewer to look up and wait for movement. My theory and my hope is that this shift promotes an altered way of perceiving and feeling. Calder famously joked “my fan mail is enormous, everyone is under six”. Children naturally feel wonder. I want all of us to feel it. That is my motive.
image: Charlotta Westergren