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Alyson Shotz: Topologies

December 9, 2006 – February 11, 2007

abstract print
Alyson Shotz, Forced Bloom 4, 2006. Lambda print on Fujiflex paper, 50 x 40 inches. Museum Purchase Fund, Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.


The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents Alyson Shotz: Topologies in the Museum’s State Street Gallery from December 9, 2006, through February 11, 2007. A veteran of the New York art world, Shotz is known internationally for works of art that address space, light, and perception. Her interest in environmental issues and topology—a branch of mathematics concerned with the properties of geometric forms that remain constant despite transformation—is also also evident in her artworks..

The works on view at MMoCA include large, detailed prints from Shotz’s Forced Bloom series. Works in this series combine biological imagery with topology-influenced computer renderings of shapes. According to Jane Simon, MMoCA’s Curator of Exhibitions, who organized the exhibition, this interplay of different-but-related forms “suggests multi-dimensional spaces that can be mapped by mathematics but are imperceptible to the human eye.”

The MMoCA exhibition also features three-dimensional works, including a six-foot-tall Viewing Scope installed adjacent to the State Street Gallery window. This interactive work is comprised of thirty steel tubes with mirror-polished interiors; lenses of varying magnifications are placed at the ends of each tube. The work functions much like the viewfinders found at scenic lookout points throughout the country. However, instead of enhancing the experience of a sublime landscape, the scopes compel the viewer to see a given setting from a variety of twisted perspectives. For museum visitors, the distinctive views of State Street afforded by the Viewing Scope suggest that art can address issues beyond the white walls of the gallery.

Overall, Alyson Shotz: Topologies raises questions about the visible and the invisible, the mathematical and the mundane, the altered and the stable. As Jane Simon states, “Alyson Shotz reminds us to think critically about human interaction with the landscape and invites us to step through her looking glass into the invisible world.”

Alyson Shotz: Topologies has been organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Richard E. Peeler Art Center of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. The exhibition will be on view at the Richard E. Peeler Art Center from March 14 through April 15, 2007.

Exhibition Support

Generous support for Alyson Shotz: Topologies has been provided by the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation and the Overture Foundation; Paula and David Kraemer; Daniel Erdman; Jesse and Nancy Ishikawa; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin; and the Art League of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.