Sculptor Sydney Blum has used the idea of Icarus flying towards the sun as the impetus of her series, Icarus-Colour-Space. The works are shaped like wings, suggesting a continuum of time and space. The ways in which the grids, colors and shapes are composed make the viewer feel as if you are about to take off. Icarus is, of course, the figure in Greek myth whose father fashioned wings of feathers and wax so that they could escape imprisonment on an island. Icarus, young and full of life, skateboarded through the sky, as it were. Yet in spite of his father’s warnings, he flew too near the sun, the wax on his wings melted, and he fell to his death.
Blum attempts to describe and create the motion and sensation of flying but in solid form: an incongruity that is not lost on her. She juxtaposes and distorts colors and lines and shapes in such ways as to produce seemingly contradictory vibrating waves of energy in our consciousness. We see the form, the suggestion of a wing, a shield, an expanding and contracting grid underlaid with gradations of color. The flight that draws us through this complex undulating interplay of color, shapes, shadows and light takes us somewhere else. Towards the sun, perhaps. Into the unknown, certainly.
For Sydney, the creation of a piece of sculpture is an exploration. The development of the process, sourcing the materials and designing the structures are only a part of the whole undertaking. She examines a large selection of computer programs and websites in her research into earth energies, the vibrations of color, grid formations, oscillation, geometric theory, seismology, interference patterns, dowsing, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, shape theory and metallurgy. For this series, she had lengthy discussions with fabricators who produce the raw materials, and she has worked closely with a metal machinist to design the movable mechanism holding the sculptures out from the wall. All this is in addition to thinking deeply about the meaning and implications of her work, manipulating the materials, and engaging her creativity and imagination throughout every aspect of the project.
Sydney Blum now lives and works in Nova Scotia. She has been represented by Kim Foster Gallery in New York since 2001. She has had public exhibitions at P.S. 1, the New Museum, the Sculpture Center, the Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, Massachusetts College of Art in Boston as well as locations in Europe. Her work has been reviewed and discussed in international art journals, including Art Forum, Art in America and The New York Times. She taught at the Parsons College of Fine Art in New York for 17 years. She has received grants from Artist Space, the New York Foundation for the Arts and Creation Grants for Arts Nova Scotia.
Sydney Blum December 2, 2019 by Ray Cronin Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Studio 21 After several decades in New York, including 17 years teaching at the Parsons School of Design, Sydney Blum moved to Nova Scotia. Her recent exhibition “Icarus–Colour–Space” (her first solo show in her adopted home) featured five sculptures that seem to float, rippling, in…Read More
Exhibitions by Alex Livingston, Sydney Blum, and Curtis Botham. I was standing in an art gallery recently talking about what makes an artwork a painting or not. The answer seems obvious: if a painter paints, it’s a painting. But hold on. That conversation took place with Deborah Carver of Studio 21, and it was sparked…Read More
Today we’d like to introduce you to Sydney Blum. Sydney, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far. I grew up in a rural college town in central New York State. I drove my parents crazy with wanting to make things but not having the right materials…Read More