Virginia Overton is a site-responsive artist. She makes sculptures, installations, photographs, and videos that relate to and interact with a venue’s architecture and defining landscape. Ultimately, what she achieves is work that is implicitly site referential, as she underscores an environment’s unassuming or extraordinary attributes by engaging the sensory features of the material.
Her sculptures and installations appear minimally composed, but their engagement with the features of a space—as well as its exterior and the landscape—generates a maximalist sensation from an efficiency of means. Performative by nature, her chosen materials are stimulated by the specificity of their situation; always initiated by the execution of a deliberate action, they maintain a relational experience predicated on a “being there” aesthetic.
Overton’s approach to the exhibition process is a combination of research and on-site decision making. For The Aldrich, she has created thirteen site-reactive sculptures and a video, presented inside the galleries, in the Sculpture Garden, and on the roofline. Each informs the other as the works reverberate throughout the building and boomerang out onto the grounds, offering multiple lines of sight. Many of the sculptures are composed of elements harvested from a dead eastern white pine felled on the Museum’s grounds. Some works feature indigenous materials scavenged on the premises alongside items Overton collected at the studio or recycled from past installations. Overton transposes the energy encapsulated within these objects, draining them of their normative purpose, and imparting them and their circumstances with a new functionality.
Whether reflecting the architectural features of a gallery or the contours of a natural landscape, Overton assesses the material—studying and learning its physical properties, seeing how far it can go, how much it can withstand—as it is processed through countless hours of experimentation. Once installed, her space-shifting sculptures and installations, through a process of re-articulation, demonstrate the inherent being-ness of an object, its materiality, its connection to a specific place at a particular time, inviting the viewer to navigate it anew as elements emerge and vanish from up close and at a distance.
Site Lines: Four Solo Exhibitions Engaging Place
Virginia Overton is part of Site Lines: Four Solo Exhibitions Engaging Place, which opened with a public reception on May 1, 2106. This series of exhibitions also features David Brooks, Kim Jones, and Peter Liversidge, presenting site-specific commissions, ranging from sculpture to drawing and performance-based works. The exhibitions encompass both the monumental and the ephemeral, intersecting, interconnecting, or mirroring the Museum’s galleries and two-acre Sculpture Garden, as well as the surrounding community. The artists utilize materials found on or indigenous to the grounds and the area, offering a response to “site” that underscores the institution’s material history and its visual condition by transforming scale and circumstance. The works seek to “frame” the view within and beyond of the galleries against the natural landscape while also accentuating the Museum’s unique architectural features, such as a pitched roofline, paned windows, and a room-scale camera obscura. Viewers are able to respond to works from multiple vantage points as they move around the Museum’s galleries, grounds, and the surrounding environs. Gravel Mirror (1968), a work by the influential artist and writer Robert Smithson, incorporated gravel found on the grounds of The Aldrich, and was a significant touchstone for the development of this exhibition series.
For additional information and images, please contact:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
203.438.4519, extension 140