chicago

Frances Whitehead

Dart Gallery

In the installation here, Frances Whitehead’s sculptures seemed to have been strewn across the pristine spaces of the gallery. Her sculptures leaned—sometimes precariously—against spotlit walls or came to rest in haphazard patterns on the floor. Yet these large-scale pieces seemed ready, poised for some unnamed or unknowable use, as if they were immense tools momentarily overlooked or set aside. Whitehead employs various forms of tin, zinc, steel, and copper, the heavy metals of early industrial technology, the fire-formed constituent elements of an outmoded engineering. They are bent and shaped to create new forms that evoke speculation regarding potential function. These sculptures are wondrous implements for foundries that never existed, the astrolabes and crucibles of sciences that never quite saw the light of day. Yet in their presentation here they seemed palpable and true, works of

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