Artwork is not often associated with mechanics or the sounds of a factory. But the exhibit, "Articulated Movement," at the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, combines art and mechanics in a mesmerizing, and in some ways, overpowering concert of noise and movement. The exhibit is Richard Hollander's first solo show, the pieces of which are all mechanical sculptures. The room is filled with seven mechanical sculptures, each of which moves in its own peculiar way. Each sculpture is focused on one particular movement, which is dictated by the power source used to move its parts. Hollander programs the sculptures to move in patterns and creates rhythms of sound according to how the sculpture moves and what materials it is made from. Most of the materials are taken from found objects, like cell phones, to name just one of the most recognizable. Hollander has been working on these sculptures for many years, some of them since 1986. This is the first time that all of them have been moving at the same time in the same room. Each piece is captivating—Hollander's programmed patterns of movement and sound are extremely tantalizing, and the viewers are made to feel that they will miss part of the show if they move too quickly through the gallery. Each piece has not only a particular movement and sound, but also, it appears, a life of its own. The most impressive, and perhaps interesting piece, is "Cylinders," which looks almost like a beating heart. Made out of pumps and tubes, "Cylinders" pulses in and out, the pumps sounding sometimes slowly, sometimes in a frenzied burst of gasps, while the whole conglomerate of pipes, tubes, and pumps expand and contract in an alarming fashion. Some visitors remarked that if they ever lived alone, they would like to have one of Hollander's moving sculptures to keep them company, which attests to the living nature of these sculptures. While we know these are just machines, created by another human being, there is a mystery behind the motion of the objects, which makes the sculptures endearing. It is no wonder that Hollander also works as a visual effects and computer graphics designer for the motion picture industry. To cap off the feeling that living objects inhabit the gallery, Hollander has created truly free artwork that moves about the floor. These cylinder shaped pieces are free, not contained within glass on a pedestal like the other pieces. The brightly decorated cylinders roll about the gallery floor, but slowly and not all at one time. Sometimes they roll gently in one direction, sometimes they rest, sitting still, as if thinking about their next move. Some visitors are surprised by a gentle bump against the back of their feet, only to find that it is one of these free ranging cylinders. While all the sculptures have the feeling of living beings, the cylinders are the most lifelike because they move about in the viewers' personal space, entering our world in a very physical manner. "Articulated Movement" will be on view at the Gallery at the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies (310 Dodge Hall, MC 1806) through April 27.
Elaine Burchman for Spectator