Alice AycockNovember 17 – December 16, 1979
A sculptural installation and documentation by Alice Aycock will be featured at the University Gallery, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, from November 17 to December 16. Designed and constructed specifically for the interior spaces of the University Gallery, the unique sculptural environment will consist of several pieces related to a central theme, entitled Studies in Mesmerism. The installation forms the third part of a series of works called States of Desire, the first of which was installed at the San Francisco Art Institute.
During the past eight years, Alice Aycock has achieved international acclaim for building quasi-architectural structures employing wood and a variety of other materials. Her early pieces often incorporated maze-like or underground passageways, precipitous ledges and disturbingly constricted spaces. These pieces, such as the Maze of 1972 and Stairs (These Stairs Can Be Climbed) of 1974, encouraged the spectator to interact with the structure both physically and conceptually. The lack of order, organization or logical structure produced a disorienting spatial perception.
Although Aycock has continued to use these devices, since the mid-seventies she has introduced into her work a multitude of historical and personal references. These references are indicated in commentaries and elaborate titles which mingle art historical quotations, reminiscences of childhood, personal fantasy, and objective facts. Often deriving from her romantic interest in magic, myth and religion, these later works place more emphasis on imagination and mysticism. Wooden Poles Surrounded by Fire Pits of 1976 is based on an archetypal ritual structure.
Alice Aycock received her M.A. from Hunter College in 1971 and presently lives and works in New York City. She has completed interior sited works at the Museum of Modern Art (1977), at Documenta VI in Kassel, Germany (1977), and at the downtown branch of the Whitney Museum (1978), among many other museums and galleries in this country and abroad.
Last March Joan Mondale requested to borrow for the Vice President's home a drawing from the permanent collection of the University Gallery at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. The drawing, by American sculptor Alice Aycock, is now featured in the third year-long exhibition of 20th century American art to be installed in the Mondale residence. The title of Aycock's huge pencil drawing on vellum is A Shanty Town Which Has a Lunatic Charm That is Quite Engaging.
Joan Mondale, who has served as a liaison between the art world and the government, began in 1976 to use the Vice President's house as a display case for the best American art. The current exhibition, the largest to be installed so far, consists of 75 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and ceramic pots by artists including Motherwell, Stella, Diebenkorn, and Dine. The artists represented range from those who have made significant early contributions to American modernism, such as Burchfield, Gorky, and Kline to younger, more recently recognized artists. All of the works were loaned by museums in New England and New York. Mrs. Mondale, who has been involved in art as a museum docent, a potter, and an art historian, was aided in the selection of objects by Robert Buck, director of the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
Alice Aycock's drawing in the exhibition is a detailed plan for a proposed sculptural installation. During the past eight years, Aycock has achieved international acclaim for building quasi-architectural structures employing wood and a variety of other materials. The Western