Tom Otterness. Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery.
New York, NY (August 10, 2007) – The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce an eagerly anticipated exhibition of recent sculpture by Tom Otterness, one of the United States’ premier public artists. Tom Otterness: The Public Unconscious will inaugurate the spectacular first floor gallery of the new Marlborough Chelsea, located at 545 West 25th Street. The show consists of approximately twenty sculptures, including five of monumental proportions, and will be Otterness’ first major gallery exhibition in five years.
“I’m delighted that Marlborough Chelsea will be opening with Tom Otterness’ work,” said Levai. “Our first floor gallery was expressly designed to exhibit monumental sculpture such as Tom’s.”Ahighlight of Tom Otterness: The Public Unconsciouswill be Large Immigrant Family, described by Otterness as the “emotional center of the show.” The sculpture, a ten-foot high, ten-foot long and nine-foot wide bronze, depicts a newly arrived family—mother and father gazing attentively at their baby, who in turn looks outward to the world. This work encapsulates the immigrant experience, one to which many Americans can personally relate.
Otterness’ sculpture is recognized for humorous and often satiric depictions of American society, especially those facets that many find uncomfortable to discuss: class, money, religion and sexual relations. Large Consumer, 2007, is a prime example of this focus in Otterness’ work: a fantastical monumental bronze of a rotund giant man sitting on a moneybag, gobbling trucks and products as they ascend a huge ramp from a fac- tory down below and into his mouth. An oil truck, generic delivery trucks, a woman pushing an oil barrel, a figure pushing a pack of cigarettes, a woman hauling an enormous diamond ring and a man pulling an oversize dead fish compose this parade of rampant consumerism, while the belly of the man enlarges to the point of explosion.
Equally astonishing is the ten-and-a-half-foot long Large Millipede, 2005, a somehow adorable, yet slightly menacing bronze of a top-hatted myriapod with each of its 23 pairs of legs shod in formal shoes. This sculpture can be seen as an encapsulation of Otterness’ philosophy of society as a living organism that moves forward only when the individual parts function together; that even the smallest has a vital contribution to the whole. Kissing Dung Beetles, aseven-foot tall sculpture, is, according to the artist, both “an optimistic spin on Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and inspired by Amorphophallus titanium,” a work that Otterness created for the Nolen Greenhouses at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York in 2005. Here male and female dung beetles are entwined on top of a moneybag, a frequent object in Otterness’ work. “It’s very passionate when you see the actual sculpture. Whether they are in love with each other or the money is in question, but they are happy,” said Otterness.