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Stephan Soihl, Time-Variable Volumes

Stephan Soihl, Time-Variable Volumes, view 1 (2010), Plexiglass, oil, brass, wood, motor, electronics [Blackfish Gallery, Portland OR, Jun 1-26]

Stephan Soihl: Time-Variable Volumes

Blackfish Gallery
Portland OR – Jun 1-26, 2010

Stephan Soihl, Suspended Arms

Stephan Soihl, Suspended Arms (2009), plastic, oil, aluminum, motor and electronics [Blackfish Gallery, Portland OR, Jun 1-26]

Stephan Soihl is an Oregon sculptor who uses layers of resin to create transparent coloured forms suspended in space. In his latest series, Time-Variable Volumes, the Blackfish Gallery co-founder has injected clear glass shapes with motor oil and transmission fluid. The pieces are fashioned from transparent plastics, electronic mechanisms, coloured oil and various structural and supportive metal finishings.

Controlled by timers, the sculptures are set in motion by small direct-current motors that cause the liquid to move at a slow pace. The pieces move up, down or in circular movements for a period of time and then become stationary. The fluid material gently continues its fluctuation until levelled by gravity. The action suggests the movement of water and many other cyclic processes that occur in the natural world.

Although these works recall an experiment in chemistry or physics – as if the sculptures are meant to measure volumetric qualities or capacity for movement of various fluid substances – there is a refined aesthetic principle in the fundamental behaviour of solid and liquid elements. They softly interact like a familiar continuum.

Soihl's calculated forms are clean and elegant. They speak simply of the symbiotic relationships of shape, material, and motion. The kinetic pieces feel light and rhythmic, and evoke a quiet contemplative space on the cusp where science meets poetry.


Allyn Cantor

Stephan Soihl, Suspended Arms, detail

Stephan Soihl, Suspended Arms, detail (2009), plastic, oil, aluminum, motor and electronics [Blackfish Gallery, Portland OR, Jun 1-26]

 Sun, Jun 6, 2010