By JONATHAN GOODMAN September 18, 2023
Dolores Furtado, a sculptor originally from Argentina, where she studied art in Buenos Aires, has been living In Brooklyn for ten years. The show, called Vestigio (Vestige) is composed of a group of blown-glass tabletop sculptures–the results of a year-long residency at Urban Glass in downtown Brooklyn–as well as a green paper mural, and two fairly large paper sculptures.The glass pieces are slightly homely, deliberately simple and vague in form, with the result that they seem to present their forms as questions. The thin green mural, close to life-size in height, is complicated in its implications–for both artist and audience; and the two paper sculptures, which are nods to nature and also to decorative art.
Furtado is gifted in her facture. Her blown glass pieces make use of colored glass, which include pink, maroon, pale green, and turquoise blue. There are wo sets of four works, both groups supported by pedestals, nearly chest high. Attractive first and foremost by the luminosity of their hue, these works are not sharply outlined in form. Instead, the indeterminate forms suggest and embody shape by means of lack of definition, and depict neither an object created from nature nor one made by man. Formally they don’t follow each other as a group; rather, they display differences that are particular to themselves. In contemporary sculpture, niceties of form tend toward the diffuse rather than the specific. In this way Furtado is very much a current artist.
The green mural, with its division of three panels that bend slightly and contain two square openings, one larger and one small, seems to be negotiating the human body and its relations to manmade things. The two openings in the flat, very thin, very green facade invest the piece with complexity; this writer made the mistake, more than once, of assuming he was looking at a mirror. Instead, of course, the cutout space defined, on the other side, the wall and the floor. In some ways, this sculpture is influenced in the direction of a conceptual sense of architecture–the human body, its placement next to a neutral form like a wall, and the graphic consequences of the opening on the piece’s slender exterior, all move the viewer toward a conscious positioning, in which the body is defined by the narrow plane against which one stands.
The two mid-size paper sculptures, set on white pedestals, are close to vases in form. Both are set on pedestals, raising them above waist level; they stand in back of each other in the mid-section of the gallery. One work, a piece with a large rounded bottom and a thin columnar stem rising from that body, is colored a light mauve. It looks for all the world like an overgrown wine bottle. The form is rectangular in shape but at the top is filled with leaves - the entire work is dark green. Both pieces have small details–the tubular column and the leaves, especially–that add the interest of particularity to the general forms. In the show, we find a body of work unusual for its command of suggested shapes and different methods, as an exploration of the implications of form, which makes Furtado's art both interesting and emotionally engaging. WM
Jonathan Goodman is a writer in New York who has written for Artcritical, Artery and the Brooklyn Rail among other publications.
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