William Hosie

November 3 - December 14, 2001
William Hosie

 

The University Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is pleased to present William Hosie, an exhibition of modest constructions and two-dimensional works that playfully blend sculptural, architectural and mechanical principles. The exhibition will be on view from November 3 through December 14, 2001. An opening reception will be held in the Gallery on Friday, November 2 from 5 to 7 p.m., and the artist will be present.


Hosie's constructions form a body of work he began developing in 1985, informed by construction sites and abandoned buildings and piers in New York City, as well as the processes of nature in river beds deep forests of Massachusetts. Hosie's small structures, all of similar scale and materials, are a 'family' of interrelating constructs, some with interchangeable parts. Considered collectively, their conceptual relationships come into focus. They are made of humble materials - cardboard, wood, Styrofoam, plaster, and glue - and they appear variously musical, architectural, utilitarian and toy-like.

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William Hosie, Untitled, 1988,
mixed media, 21 x 13 x 12 inches
As an art student at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1970s, Hosie studied primarily with sculptor Robert Engman, yet also gravitated to the architecture department, where he was exposed to the ideas of Louis Kahn, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi and Ian McHarg. This charged atmosphere gave Hosie license to think of his sculpture in vastly different terms, so that what gradually took on importance was not the isolated object but rather the process of form-finding to insinuate a 'life in time' in the work. Making models for architects needing solutions for difficult details gave him the scale and medium. Hosie began to use found materials from construction dumpsters in New York City to work through his ideas. What was important was to make sculpture that didn't stagnate as 'finished' work, but rather embodied the notion of time and mutability. They were built, half-built, unbuilt, and rebuilt -- transforming into other related structures in the process. While working on his sculptural constructions, Hosie also began major restorations to his Victorian home in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, an activity that soon extended outside in the form of landscaped gardens that interface the natural with the man-made. The family of small structures now reside in and entirely fill the parlour floors, enlivening his home with their playful and ever-changing presence.

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William Hosie, Untitled, 1981, cardboard
and ink, 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
A related series of two-dimensional works made between 1981 and 1983 anticipate the three-dimensional constructions. These wall pieces came about through the artist's interest in 'Notan', a Japanese term meaning light/dark or the principle of interaction between positive and negative space, like the sign for I Chi or yin/yang. Organized as a semiographic storyboard, reminiscent of those used in animation, they sequentially disclose imagery moving back and forth in time.

William Hosie lives and works in New York City and in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts with his wife, the artist Christin Couture. He received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. in sculpture (1976, 1978 respectively) from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been making sculpture for over thirty years and his work is in numerous private collections. Hosie has been a collector of Early American antiques for many years.

William Hosie is supported in part by funds from the UMass Arts Council.

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