Sculpting with Air: Ian McMahon and Jong Oh

Jong Oh, Compo-site #15, 2016
Click images for larger view
On View Apr 20, 2018 - Sep 30, 2018
Exhibition Location: Museum

Linde Gallery, Foster Galleries

This spring, two contemporary sculptors will create very different site-specific artworks at deCordova by shaping the intangible element of air. Ian McMahon creates voluminous, pillow-like forms using an innovative technique of sprayed plaster. Jong Oh fashions almost imperceptible structures with string, wire, and Plexiglas. While McMahon emphasizes materiality, solidity, and containment, Oh focuses on transparency, lightness, and expansiveness. Despite the enormous contrasts, the two sculptors’ work is complementary. Both reshape space by exploring tension, balance, and force. They challenge our perceptions of gravity and perspective by creating forms that expand into the galleries.

At deCordova, McMahon's sculpture will be over 65 feet long and 25 feet wide—his largest and most complex sculpture to date. Oh's installation will weave between two adjoining galleries, extending from one room into the other.

Special Behind-the-Scenes Opportunity

McMahon and Oh emphasize process, and often make their installations at specific locations, rather than in their studios. At deCordova, they will create original, temporary sculptures that respond to the Museum’s unique exhibition spaces. Sharing the creative process with visitors, the Museum will be open to the public while the two artists install their work between April 4–8 and 11–15. Visitors are invited to observe the artists working in the gallery and attend daily artist talks. The finished works will open to the public on April 20, 2018.

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by Sherry and Joel Mallin, Kumi and Bill Martin, The Nathaniel Saltonstall Arts Fund, Mary and Donald Shockey, Jr., and an anonymous donor.

Press Release

Ian McMahon

Ian McMahon was born in 1982 in Ithaca, NY. He earned a BFA in Ceramics from Alfred University and MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. His work has been shown both nationally and internationally including at Crane Arts, Philadelphia; Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, Jingdezhen, China; Pierogi Boiler Room, New York; and Suyama Space, Seattle. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation in 2016 and the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2014. He is also the co-founder and director of the Belfry, an artist-run exhibition space.

Jong Oh

Jong Oh was born in 1981 in Mauritania, North Africa and moved to Korea at age 15. He earned his BFA from Hongik University, Seoul and his MFA from School of Visual Art, New York. He has had recent solo exhibitions at the University of Connecticut Art Galleries, Krinziger, Austria; Jochen Hempel, Leipzig; and MARSO, Mexico City. In 2011, Oh was one of twelve artists in FIRST LOOK at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, a juried show of leading art graduates in the United States. In 2014 he won a competition to create a large scale public installation along the Hudson River in Peekskill, New York. Oh currently lives and works in New York, New York.

Sculpting with Air Behind-the-Scenes Days and Artist Talks

Wednesday–Sunday, April 4–8 and 11–15 
We invite the public to observe and engage with artists Ian McMahon and Jong Oh as they create their site-specific temporary sculptures in the Sculpting with Air exhibition galleries. The Museum will be open for public viewing and artist talks while the two artists are working.

Art for April Vacation Week

Wednesday–Friday, April 18–20, 1–3 pm 
Inspired by the new spring exhibitions Sculpting with Air: Ian McMahon and Jong Oh and Lived Space: Humans And Architecture, join us as we create exciting and unexpected air and architectural sculpture experiences in the Park.

Sculpting with Air Lecture by Koch Curatorial Fellow Martina Tanga

Thursday, April 26, 6:30–7:30 pm 
Martina Tanga offers a historical look at the relationship between sculpture and air—from Marcel Duchamp’s 1919 artwork Paris Air to the large-scale installations by contemporary artists Ian McMahon and Jong Oh on view in Sculpting with Air.

Kokedama: Living Sculpture

Thursday, May 24, 6–8 pm
Kokedama is a form of Japanese garden art in which the roots of a plant are encased in mud, then wrapped in a hanging ball of soft green moss. Invite a friend, enjoy a glass of wine, and create a Park-worthy sculpture for your home!

Conversation with the Artists: Ian McMahon and Jong Oh

Thursday, June 7, 6:30–8 pm
Despite the enormous contrasts in their work, Ian McMahon and Jong Oh both reshape space by sculpting with an intangible material: air. Join us for a conversation with the artists to learn how they challenge our perceptions of gravity and perspective by creating forms that expand into deCordova’s galleries.