« coming of age in a winner-take-all society | Main | presidents who do too much »

March 16, 2009

Shih Chieh Huang

Mr. Huang is a youngish artist who uses cheap, discarded objects (soda bottles, baggies) and electronic components such as motion-detectors, LEDs, and fans to create objects that seem animal. My family and I saw his installation at RISD this weekend. It was like a whimsical aquarium; anemone-like creatures on the floor deflated their plastic bags shyly when you walked near them, and the big jelly-fish-like thing in the middle turned to watch you with its human eyes. It all sounds like something that Pixar or Disney would create. I respect their talents, but Huang is a studio artist rather than an entertainer, and I think the difference has to do with the following factors. He has a sense of humor but doesn't play for laughs. His use of banal waste products to make lovely organic objects stimulates subtle ideas about nature and human action without driving home an obvious point. He leaves the wiring and electronic gadgets unconcealed; there's no pretense to being something other than an art installation. Most important, Huang is a fine and careful individual craftsman. My little daughter and I were inspired to make something somewhat similar when we got home, and I developed a sense of how remarkably hard it would be to copy a Huang.

March 16, 2009 9:38 AM | category: fine arts | Comments


Site Meter