Aaron Curry – VVirgins (2011)


From a distance, the sculptures of Aaron Curry (San Antonio, Texas,1972, lives and works in Los Angeles) are most striking for their form, which is very obviously derived from twentieth-century modernist movements in art, often bringing specific artists to mind. Sometimes Curry’s work is reminiscent of Picasso, while at other times it is Henry Moore, Dubuffet’s Art Brut or the surrealist abstractions of artists such as Tanguy, Arp, Max Ernst and Joan Miró.


However, from close up, Curry’s unique artistic approach becomes clear. His three-dimensional sculptures are made up of sheets of wood or metal, joined together to intersect at right angles. These flat pieces are loosely inspired by the shapes of living creatures, in profile, which makes them seem like human or animal silhouettes.


The sculptures look very unstable. This is because the individual elements are slotted into one another very precisely, without screws or clips. It is the careful distribution of weight that defies gravity and keeps the sculpture standing: a quality of Curry’s art that is derived from the works of American sculptor Alexander Calder.


As Curry works with flat silhouettes, it is impossible to predict what these shapes will look like from the front, as only the cross section can be seen from a certain angle. This ensures that, when seen from a different angle, the sculptures completely change in appearance. The Scarecrow’s Wife (2009), seen from the front, most closely resembles a futuristic, standing figure with wings, but from the side the sculpture looks like four fish swimming along. Curry consciously aims to create this sort of interaction with his work: you have to walk around it in order to perceive all of the different aspects.


The modernist idiom upon which Curry’s formal language is based is combined with references to popular culture: comic books, advertisements, science fiction, Walt Disney, Star Trek. This combination of past and present exists in all of his work – in addition to his three-dimensional sculptures, Curry also makes collages and sculptural pieces consisting of a sheet of wood or metal standing against a wall. He finishes his sculptures with spray paint, sometimes presenting figurative depictions, sometimes using tags and other images from the graffiti scene. Recently he has also worked with monochrome powder coatings, and he usually employs violently bright colours in his work, such as fluorescent pink and yellow and neon blue. He also adds his signature and date to the work.


Specially for Lustwarande ‘11, Curry has made a relatively simple sculpture consisting of a central piece and a smaller, freestanding element. The central neon red figure has three legs on the ground, like a T-junction. A square panel is fixed on top, so that, seen from above, the sculpture is a perfectly symmetrical cross. From the front, the work most closely resembles a gateway, while from the side it looks like a geometric animal figure, with a large head and tail reaching down to the ground. The tall, slim, neon orange figure placed in the vicinity of this central sculpture looks a bit like a human head on a long neck. Curry’s use of colours is also a clear reference to Calder, who made many sculptures in red and orange.


Manon Braat / translation Laura Watkinson