HISTORIC SILVER BAY BOATHOUSE GALLERY, “Elements in Alliance: Natural Visions,” Silver Bay, NY 2010 HISTORIC SILVER BAY BOATHOUSE GALLERY, “Fine Art,” Silver Bay, NY
Sculptor John Van Alstine is known for hisstone and metal compositions. Working with objects from nature, Val Alstine finds stones with a fresh and geometric character, such as granite, and combines them with metallic and non-metallic found objects that he manipulates. His continued investigation of strength and balance - attaching incongruous elements that hang in space - defy normal perceptions of gravity.
In his sculptures, Van Alstine prefers to leave the stone in its natural rough state, in order to invite the viewer to focus on the geology, the natural formation and the history of the object. He then manipulates and rearranges the found objects, often anvil or vessel shaped in steel, into the rough stone. In doing this, the artist explores the expressive possibilities of these materials, providing them with new life and function. These ensembles result in powerful abstract constructions, characterized by their bold simplicity and elegant lines.
It is the unusual combination of materials and precarious, even threatening, positioning of elements that give him sculptures a magic of their own. The dialogue between rural and urban, pure and impure, natural and man-made, timeless and temporary, create interesting tensions. These compositions are also rendered in magnificent drawings that are bold in color and dynamic in gesture.
Van Alstine was born in 1952 in the Adirondacks, New York. He received a B.F.A. from St. Lawrence University in 1974, and a M.F.A. from Cornell University in 1976. In 1987 he returned to his hometown, where he now lives and works. Van Alstine’s work has been widely exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia. His work is held in numerous private, public and corporate collections. Selected public collections include Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, Lisbon, Portugal; among others. In 2008, Van Alstine was selected to have his monumental steel and bronze sculpture “Circle of Inclusion” placed in the Beijing Olympic Park.