This season in Mountainville, New York, two different artists are on view who aim for harmony with the meandering landscapes of Storm King Art Center.
Zhang Huan: Evoking Tradition focuses on the large-scale sculptures and traditional techniques of the contemporary Chinese artist. The spirituality associated with Zhang’s Buddhist practice plays heavily as a theme throughout the works; however, what will draw viewers in is the visceral physicality of the materials. His drawings and smaller sculptures, many created from the incense ashes of Buddhist temples, show the artist’s hand and react over time with their surroundings. “Peace No. 2,” a large bell with a life-size bronze cast of the artist’s body used as the clapper, promotes interactivity and hints at Zhang’s past work as a performance artist.
Just over the hill from Zhang’s permanently installed monumental copper “Three-Legged Buddha,” on an otherwise untouched and undulating clearing, there is a thin line hovering over the landscape. This is Virginia Overton’s masterful installation commissioned for Storm King’s yearly Outlooks series. The installation consists of 12-foot-long brass tubes arranged end-to-end, elevated approximately 4 feet above the rolling grasses. The regularity of the piece evokes the utilitarianism of agricultural fencing as well as previous landscape installations such as Carl Andre’s “Secant” from 1977, also installed in upstate New York at the Nassau County Center for the Fine Arts.
As the seasons change and the grasses reach their full height, Overton’s installation will subtly transform; the brass tubes will take on a rich patina and their forms will become holistic with the landscape.