Structural synthesis |  Irwin Kremen

William Noland is an artist ambitious in the best sense, by which I mean that he wants nothing better than to make work of the highest caliber. Here he offers us innovative sculpture of quality that shuns the faddish and the fashionable. In the context of his own oeuvre, he has broken through to a new level of accomplishment, in ways that both consolidate what has done before—in volume, in line, in the coupling of materials, in the exploration of spatial relations—and ways that go beyond it to a synthesis in structural terms. These pieces are big and bold—large structures of wood, metal and plastic—that are architectural in feel yet open…and eminently sculptural.

But even as I say this, I suspect that conventional genre terms may not compass Noland’s recent work. Predicates such as “architectural” and “sculptural”, which come to mind so readily, may no longer be sufficient to convey a proper sense of it. In this short space all I can do is to suggest a need, perhaps, for new terms to fit Noland’s kind of sculptural construction, work that is nominally sculpture but which has strong affinities not only with architecture but also with abstract painting. I have felt the latter forcibly when seeing certain of his constructions in his studio, works that struck me as being what one might imagine a geometric abstract painting would be were it opened up three-dimensionally or were one suddenly able to walk into it.

Walk around these works, then, without presuppositions, twice, thrice—and open to what may be a different experience.

Irwin Kremen © 1995