Socrates Sculpture Park is presenting “Built,” a parkwide solo exhibition of newly commissioned works by Virginia Overton that refashion found materials with dynamism and potency. The exhibition is on view through September 3, 2018 at the Long Island City, New York.
Overton addresses concepts of labor, economics, and the land in today’s society through wry humor. Her choice of material include fundamental elements for construction and fabrication — combined with her axiomatic approach to process, evoke narratives of self-reliance, creative constraints, and expediency. For the exhibition, Overton creates new iterations of ongoing series of works — an altered pickup truck, a water feature, a roof truss gem sculpture, a suspended work, and a billboard, among others.
The show’s substantial piece is a crystal-shaped sculpture made of industrial architectural truss systems and angle iron spanning 40 feet. Overton’s structure combines two truss types creating a series of pitched trusses by joining parallel Warren truss members. These amalgamated trusses ring the central axis of the crystal structure, producing a muscular polygon of steel beams and porous facets that cantilevers over the ground.
Overton has transformed a 1990 Ford F250 pickup truck with a reflective glass bead surface, exploring the pickup as a tool, a vessel, a symbol of a mobility and ambition, and as a sculptural material. A water feature made from elements that Overton has used in other exhibitions complement these works, drawing attention to the Park as part of larger ecosystems both physical (the East River Estuary) and social (the alternative art space community).
These works share role as support structures, both in their original purpose and in their new generative articulations. The wooden beams and trusses are elements that repeat through the exhibition, revealing these materials’ multiple capacities as tools. Situated in the changing, once-industrial waterfront neighborhood of Long Island City, the works shed their former functions without nostalgia. Instead, Overton’s works exhibit the vitality of creative reuse, the ingenuity of traditional forms of vernacular making, and an entwined admiration and wonder towards the physical and material world around us.
“Overton’s newly commissioned artworks for Socrates Sculpture Park echo our thirty-year history of transformation, reclamation, and labor that continues to be an ongoing effort here in the Park. In this way, Overton suffuses her own inventive and improvisational sensibilities with construction materials to reflect and amplify the ethos of this unique place in New York City,” said John Hatfield, Executive Director of Socrates.