The Resilience of the Human Condition: Jonathan Prince’s Ruptured Column
"Subtle, Not Subtle" focuses on four artists whose work displays a delicate complexity that is easily overlooked by the casual viewer. Each of Jonathan Prince’s steel sculptures in the exhibition contains some element that is torn or broken. These infractions are gloriously polished to reveal the tension of imperfection. Ruptured Column is one such work. Fabricated with aircraft-grade aluminum, the sculpture presents a perfection, a machine esthetic, that is interrupted by hand work where the column breaks into five pieces. Ruptured Column perfectly showcases Prince’s conceptual approach and mastery of sculpture as a medium. It was, somewhat ironically, inspired by a painting.
In 1925, eighteen-year-old Frida Kahlo was in a horrific bus accident that left her severely injured: broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. She spent three months in a full body cast and while she recovered the ability to walk, she was haunted by severe pain for the rest of her life. In 1944, her physical condition became acute. A series of surgeries resulted in her being confined to a corset. She painted the self-portrait, The Broken Column, where she portrayed her body open, supported by a fractured metal column. Nails stick like pins into her skin. She wrote, “I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint.”
Like Kahlo’s The Broken Column, Prince’s Ruptured Column expresses the resilience of the human experience in the face of pain, imperfection, or anything tribulation life may present.
Jonathan Prince resurrected his latent passion for sculpture in 2004 after a diverse professional career in the arts and sciences. Prince completed a doctorate at Columbia University and post-doctoral studies at the University of Southern California. He has produced feature films and directed numerous computer animated special effects projects, including significant contributions to an Emmy Award-winning CBS television miniseries. He has created several large-scale technology and art installations at venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and holds several design patents for his developments in optical engineering. In 2014 he was featured by Cynthia Reeves at Art Miami and on the cover of the January/February 2015 issue of Art New England.
Follow West Branch Gallery on Artsy to see more works by Jonathan Prince.