Photo: Alison Reintjes, detail of DoubleColumn, powder coated aluminum, 2014, courtesy of the artist, copyright the artist.

Alison Reintjes: DoubleColumn

March 5 2014 - July 26 2014

DoubleColumn was created by Missoula artist Alison Reintjes as a site-specific installation for MAM. Departing from her familiar ceramic medium, Reintjes branched out and created a large scale, hanging, site-specific installation out of powder-coated aluminum.

DoubleColumn exudes a dominant presence in the museum. She states, “For the exhibition, I have limited myself to a vocabulary of three simple polygons—an equilateral triangle, a square and a regular hexagon. These three shapes have angles which can be combined to add up to 360 degrees, forming a continuous spatial field. To experience the joy of the color, the viewer is invited to look through the sculpture instead of at it, seeing the suggested volume created by each shape. The end result is two stacks of interlocking globes that shift from subtle whites and creams into vibrant yellows, finally concluding in somber ochre.”

Reintjes also has a work in the front lobby gallery that is rooted in the same sensibility and aesthetic, but executed in ceramic. She states of the work, “In many ways the ceramic work acts as a two-dimensional blueprint for the larger three-dimensional DoubleColumn. In both works, I use a single, repeated element joined in a way that allows for openness or breath while engaging an entire space through spare means. The intent is to envelope the viewer in an experience that gradually unfolds over a large area. Pattern is created and repeated to affect a feeling that is simultaneously stimulating and peaceful.”

Reintjes’ work is informed by a rich history. Many non-Western cultures have embraced patterning and decoration as a vital aesthetic language that is often associated with cultural identity itself. By the mid-twentieth century, the adjective decorative was firmly established as an insult in Western contemporary art parlance. In reaction to this marginalization, in the mid-1970s through the 1980s many artists rose up to celebrate their attraction to patterns and decorations and established a movement. This movement is referred to as P and D (Pattern and Decoration). As the viewer absorbs Reintjes’ attention to repetition and the elements of design, it will become evident the work has grown out of the foundations of P and D.

Reintjes moved to Montana in 2001 for a residency at the Archie Bray Foundation. She has studied at Kent State University, the Canberra School of Art in Australia, and Northern Michigan University and has held artist residencies at Greenwich House Pottery in New York, Jentel in Wyoming, Mount St. Francis in southern Indiana, and the Clay Studio of Missoula. She has worked as an instructor at the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft and the Missoula Art Museum. She has exhibited at the Oregon College of Arts & Crafts in Portland, AKAR Gallery in Iowa City, Museu de Ceramica de l’Alcora in Spain, ASU Ceramic Research Center in Tempe, Lill Street Art Center in Chicago and the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, among others. Reintjes has been featured in the MAM’s Montana Triennial and the Persistence in Clay exhibitions.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Images: DoubleColumn installed at MAM; Reintjes working on DoubleColumn; Reintjes photographed at MAM.