My introduction to the work of Josiah McElheny

I saw this piece by Josiah McElheny at the 2020 Armory Show and it instantly drew me in for a closer look. The piece is titled “Crystal Landscape Painting (Mineral),” 2019, and is made with hand-blown cut, polished and mirrored glass, transparent and low-iron mirror, painted steel, electric lighting and hardware, and measures approximately 54 x 54 x 19 inches. This wall sculpture was one of several interesting art works on view at the James Cohen booth at the Armory Show. Scroll down for more …

Josiah McElheny sculpture at the 2020 Armory Show

Since I was not familiar with Mr. EcElheny’s art and found this piece fascinating, I wanted to learn more. I can see this one piece acting as an introduction and a deeper dive into Josiah McElheny’s work, as he does more than just sculpture; his projects also include installations, performances, films, projections, as well as curatorial and writing projects. But for now, let’s stay focused here on this piece. According to the gallery’s artist page, McElheny often uses glass for both conceptual and perceptual purposes, since it allows for reflection (in its mirrored form), transparency, and fluid mutability.

When I look at these details (below), they bring to mind a combination of effects that two other artists that I really like also utilize in their work. I’m not suggesting that McElheny is thinking or responding to the same artists, but I want to make these comparisons due to my own interest. When looking at the glass piece on the mirrored platform, the oval shaped piece creates a fascinating multitude of views within it, which reminds me of my experience of standing in front of Anish Kapoor’s concave mirror at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And then the way the mirrored box creates the visual illusion of endless depth brings to mind my experience looking at the work of Ivan Navarro. All of the reflections and angles of viewing allow for an endless array of ways to see and experience this wall sculpture.

Josiah Mcelheny details

Josiah McElheny attended RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design) and lives and works in New York City. To learn more about this fascinating artist, check out his Wikipedia page here.

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