Ian McMahon

Open Studio

January 7 – 25, 2020

Exhibition Period

January 28 – July 11, 2020


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To kick off 2020, MadArt welcomed New York-based artist Ian McMahon as he began a laborious and performative three-week install of his exhibition, Aperture. McMahon’s works confront and transform the physical environments they inhabit, challenging notions of fabricated space by using architectural materials to highlight the magnificence of construction. Upon entering the space, visitors encountered a series of 15-foot-tall, billowing, white forms that traversed the length of the studio. These pillow-like structures—comprised of over 5,000 pounds of cast plaster sprayed into inflatable plastic molds—were contained by large, wooden corrals and the architecture of the studio itself.

Aperture utilized the studio’s central mezzanine to create an interior viewing corridor accessible from the north end of the space. This was the first time McMahon gave viewers visual access to his work’s interior infrastructure, exposing the residue of the fabrication process and revealing a perspective that contradicted the implied materiality of the exterior forms.

In this simultaneous presentation of its inner and outer structures, Aperture was imbued with life. One could sense the presence of the artist’s hand, adding a performative quality to the completed exhibition and an appreciation for the labor that was essential to realizing such monumental sculptures. As in architecture, McMahon’s structures are all built in situ, the physical location becoming a critical framing component of the work’s orchestrated construction. Thus, Aperture’s life span was tethered to the site it occupied, disrupting preconceived notions of art’s relationship to longevity and time.

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Exhibition video by James Harnois