David Newton has created site-specific sculpture that alternately embraces and challenges the architecture of the Monteserrat Gallery. The Shape of Time and Straight create a dialogue regarding the limits of aesthetic intention.
The title for The Shape of Time came in a dream. In the dream Newton was saying "the shape of time/arc/and the force of light" while his hand was making an arcing movement that he understood as the shape of time. Originally planned as a ten or twelve foot sculpture, The Shape of Time grew to sixteen feet in response to the gallery itself.
"It was too small in the gallery. I was thinking of the entrance, the windows, and the space it would live in. That was the important relationship."
Newton has to find a way to "frame" the line. The mass of the sculpture is at the service of the line. The sculpture moves us toward the experience of the wave and its trajectory in space. Three elements frame the line: the pole, the table and the vessel.
"Time is not a straight line. Time crawls, it flies, it is anything but straight. The beginning is the pole, then the tall shape of the wire disappearing into the vessel. The line needed to have a clear destination, a clear journey as opposed to a line that hung in space."
The plaster vessel is the ending of the journey. It creates both an unknowable place and reflects Newton's interest in the human body. The surface of the vessel leaves the mark of the artist, the evidence of his hand.
Straight is as tall as possible, almost to the point of absurdity. Its apparent function as a lookout tower or platform becomes completely useless, resting as it does three inches from the gallery sprinkler pipes. Straight pushes against the architecture of the gallery and the limits of its own internal order. A plumb line is held captive by a hole just larger than the string. The oversized two by twelve industrial fir has an adament confidence. Straight responds to gravity driven motion and the restraint of geometry and order.
Where The Shape of Time is in harmony with the proportions of the gallery, Straight defies them. Where Shape is luxurious, Straight is economic. Shape references the flow of time and the rhythm of a dream. Newton's sculptures juxtapose reason and faith, the Classic and Romantic. It is a challenge and a pleasure to experience them in the Montserrat Gallery