September 20 – December 17, 2006
LACE’s exhibition of Dustin Shuler’s The Rainforest: A Landscape in the Shower will be the first time this remarkable living sculpture has been shown. Rainforest is the culmination of 15 years of work and experimentation by Shuler. It represents a fertile point of departure from his large-scale, static sculptures. Here he leaves the manipulated heavy metal of his past works behind and focuses instead on the creation of an organic system and the shifting relationships between the sculptural environment and its live inhabitants.
In Rainforest, Shuler has created a miniature ecosystem fashioned out of a mass-produced shower and bathtub unit with elaborate water, light and sound systems housed in clear plexi-glass units flanking each side. The turtles, fish, birds, frogs and foliage that populate this microcosm are the “living” component of the sculpture – as they respond to the cycles of light and weather that Shuler has programmed into the environment, they also respond to and interact with each other in ways that the artist can neither predict nor control.
Dustin Shuler’s work provokes a thoughtful investigation of our environment and the increasingly blurred distinction between natural and artificial aspects of our urban ecosystems. This exemplary sculpture reflects the artist’s passionate interest in living systems and invites the viewer to consider the energy, effort and technologies that are required to sustain “natural” living environments in otherwise inhospitable locales. This pressing global issue has particular relevance in Los Angeles, where technology sustains lush environs and a vast urban population in the midst of an arid desert climate.
Sunday 15 October 2006 | 3pm
Artist talk with Dustin Shuler
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1948, Dustin Shuler attended classes at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh before moving to Los Angeles in the early 70s. Since 1975 he has been involved in solo and group shows throughout the United States and Europe. He is best known for his large-scale and public sculptures, such as Death of an Era, a 1980 piece consisting of a 59 Cadillac impaled with a 20-foot replica of a common nail; Pinned Butterfly, a 1982 piece in which a Cessna 150 airplane was affixed to the side of downtown L.A.’s American Hotel; 1983’s Auto Pelt, 63 VW, a “skinned” 1963 Volkswagen bug which was hung on the wall of the Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego; and The Spindle, 1989, a sculpture located just outside of Chicago that has eight full-sized cars impaled on a 50-foot spindle. Shuler has also displayed an interest in ecological processes in some of his past works, notably in the series of “simulated earthquakes” that he performed at numerous galleries in the early years of his career.
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Support for The Rainforest: A Landscape in the Shower comes from The David Bermant Foundation: Color, Light, Motion.
Download The Rainforest press release.