We Are Still Here (Think About Why We Are Still Here)
Scottish, b. 1967
We Are Still Here (Think About Why We Are Still Here), 2005
222.2 x 107.9 x 4.1 cm (87 x 42 x 1 5/8 inches) (each)
Richard Brown Baker Fund for Contemporary British Art 2006.5.2
(September 23, 2011 – January 8, 2012)
These gates are part of an ongoing body of work involving what Boyce calls “a kind of dislocated and fragmented park landscape.” The white gate, the last in the sequence, shows the grid pattern of the first (black) gate subtly transformed into a linear drawing of a young tree. Fabricated with industrial materials, the multi-part abstract sculpture recalls the reduced, hard-edged geometry of Constructivism associated with the European modernist movements of the early 20th century. However, the artist’s interest in the relationship between the natural and the manmade in today’s urban environments, suggested in the gates’ succession of the tree form schema, is surprisingly poignant and poetic. Drawn to the topography of parks –from lush Victorian landscapes to desolate inner-city sites “where a bench and a trash can are the only clues” – he says that “For me newly planted saplings seem to represent something vulnerable and resistant. They’re the teenagers in the park caught in sodium spill of the streetlights. Just hanging in there. Almost visible but evolving and dreaming.” (Correspondence from the artist to Judith Tannenbaum, Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art, The RISD Museum)(July 11, 2008 – March 29, 2009)
The legacy of design and architecture from the first half of the 20th century is a primary interest for Martin Boyce. His sculptures are influenced by modernist forms and serial production. They appropriate common building and street accessories, transferring and altering them from the urban landscape to the gallery environment. We Are Still Here… is a series of identically sized steel gates, inspired by public garden gateways. However, there are variations in color, grid patterns, and rectangular plates added to the doors’ planes. The trapezoid shape of the gates creates a perspective illusion; seemingly open, they entice us to enter an imaginary place beyond.
Made in the UKContemporary Art from the Richard Brown Baker Collection
Edited ByLiese, Jennifer, ed.
Contributions byHoward, Jan and Judith Tannenbaum
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2011