Year created:
DeCordova Exhibits. Courtesy of the artist and Samson, Boston
Click images for larger view

approximately 40 feet long

pigmented rubber
Courtesy of the artist and Samson, Boston
Exhibit Date: 
On View Jul 10, 2013 - Sep 25, 2013

No longer on view.

Aaron Stephan’s sculptures elevate the ordinary to the ideal by providing everyday objects with new contexts, alterations, and serial qualities. Based in Portland, Maine, Stephan employs common forms, ranging from industrial railings to trash barrels, to create sculptures which embody a new utopian space.  As part of deCordova’s PLATFORM series, Stephan presents recreations of iconic twentieth-century sculptures recontextualized in the vernacular of the Sculpture Park and Museum’s architecture and facilities. Using borrowed forms, Stephan has reconstructed sculptural masterpieces by Vladimir Tatlin, Donald Judd, and Robert Smithson in the three-part installation located on the Rappaport Rooftop Terrace, on the Sculpture Park Terrace, and in the Sculpture Park.

Spilled Paint is an installation inspired by Robert Smithson’s (1938-1973) Glue Pour (1969) and Asphalt Rundown (1969).  Similar to Smithson’s two iconic works, Spilled Paint illustrates how everyday actions can have artistic consequences.  Asphalt Rundown was created by Smithson by pouring a load of asphalt down a cliff of a quarry, similarly Spilled Paint, cascades down the hillside as a monument to a temporal moment in time. Made of pigmented rubber, the installation is the same Atrium White color as the paint used to cover the Museum gallery walls, which links the work to the material language of the museum—a common thread throughout Stephan’s series at deCordova.  Formally, the work can be seen as a reference to Abstract Expressionist paintings monumentalized on the hillside.  However, the installation diverges from the emotional and expressive content associated with Abstract Expressionism—as well as the intended purpose of Smithson’s work, which was to decay and change over time.

Aaron Stephan received his B.F.A. in sculpture from SUNY Purchase College in 1996, and M.F.A. from Maine College of Art, Portland, ME in 2002. His work has been shown in the Portland Museum of Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art Portland, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and recently contributed to the Percent for Art Projects in Biddeford, Maine.

PLATFORM is a series of solo exhibitions by early- and mid-career artists from both the New England and national arts communities. These shows focus on work that engages with deCordova's unique architectural spaces and social, geographical, and physical location. The PLATFORM series is intended to support creativity and the expression of new ideas, and is a catalyst for dialogue about contemporary art.

The 2012–2013 PLATFORM series is generously funded by James and Audrey Foster.

PLATFORM 12: Aaron Stephan Secondhand Utopias

Image courtesy of the artist and Samson, Boston.