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Forces Made Visible
In association with Hudson Hills Press
Text by Eleanor Heartney
11x12", hardcover 242 b&w and color plates
French fold, on heavy art paper
Includes limited edition DVD ISBN 1555952437
Kenneth Snelson’s sculptures are familiar presences in public plazas and museum galleries around the world. Composed of steel or aluminum tubes held together with tension wires, they defy gravity while assuming intricate and evocative configurations that seem to extend impossibly into space. This profusely illustrated overview of Snelson’s remarkable five decade career reveals that these sculptures are simply the best known manifestation of his lifelong exploration of the structures of nature. Snelson has also been engaged for many years in a dialogue with physicists and mathematicians over the structure of the atom and has used his own elegant solution to the problems posed by quantum mechanics to create sculptural models and beautiful digital images. And, he has explored the shape of visual space with sweeping photographic panoramas of urban landscapes.
The definitive volume on the life, work and processes of this important American artist and innovator, Kenneth Snelson: Forces Made Visible follows the artist’s trajectory from a childhood in Pendleton, Oregon where he was consumed by a passion for model making and tinkering, to his formative encounter as a young man with Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College, and on to his discovery of the principle of “tensegrity” which informs his sculptures and his investigations of atomic structure. Comprised of photo essays which track Snelson’s artistic and personal development and his working process, as well as an analytical text by Eleanor Heartney and pages of plates representing his sculptures, his three dimensional and digital models of the atom and his panoramic photographs, this book offers a full rounded portrait of a man who has been charged with having “designs on the universe.”
This richly illustrated overview of Snelson’s remarkable five-decade career details a lifelong exploration of the structures of nature-- and the nature of structure. Its major sections explore in depth the several avenues of expression that he has pursued in this exploration. In addition to sculpture, his dramatic panoramic landscape photographs, as well as his pioneering digital imagery, are richly illustrated.
Snelson’s preoccupations encompass both the macro and micro realms. He has been engaged for many years in a dialogue with physicists and mathematicians over the structure of the atom. The product of this inquiry, his conceptualization of the Snelson Atom and its many manifestations in two-and three-dimensional mediums, has put him in a unique and sometimes controversial position at the juncture of art and science.
As author Eleanor Heartney observes in her essay, the artist’s body of work is ultimately all of a piece: “Snelson expresses his vision of a universe in which interconnection is all.”
Forces Made Visible incorporates a DVD produced by Kenneth Snelson, featuring his own short computer animations, as well as videos documenting the creation and installation of major Snelson sculptures.