Josiah McElheny (born 1966 in Boston, USA; lives and works in New York City, USA).
Hand blown and carved grey moir glass, wood, low iron glass, and steel.
“McElheny [created] a large and varied body of work that looks at how fashion and modernism have intersected and influenced each other, especially through the common language of the body…
“The ground floor gallery featured a series of sculptures based in part on the vitrines that Carlo Scarpa designed to display plaster models (at 25% scale) of the human figure in the Museo Canova in Possagno, Italy. Within each of these steel, cedar and glass vitrines, McElheny has placed carved and cut glass forms that are based on designs or templates by a range of different artists and designers from the past century. Each glass assemblage, with titles such as The Space Age Body (after Cardin, Courrèges, and Gernreich) (2012) and The Uniform Body (after Popova and Rodchenko) (2012), acts like an interpretive ‘model’, a structure that reveals a range of potential cultural forces and historical interpretations of the human body, embedded in its form. Blown to incorporate threads of different-coloured glass in order to produce a moiré effect when the viewer moves around the sculpture, the glass vessels themselves seem to sway and undulate like cloth, defying the hardness of the medium.”
—Press release, “Interactions of the Abstract Body,” White Cube website.
“McElheny has been exploring the body for more than 20 years, examining how fashion and modernism have intersected and influenced it. For this show, entitled Interactions of the Abstract Body, he also created a series glass wall-mounted reliefs based on dress designs by the late artists Sonia Delaunay and Varvara Stepanova.”
—Emma O’Kelly, “Interactions of the Abstract Body by Josiah McElheny, London,” Wallpaper*, November 19, 2012.