"Absolutely" (2012)

Absolutely (2012)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Alan Rath 
Absolutely, 2012
Pheasant feathers, aluminum, fiberglass, and custom electronics
Gift of the Lipman Family Foundation

Alan Rath employs new technologies as a means to explore the uncertain terrain separating humans from machines. Trained as an electrical engineer, Rath infuses his work with an inquisitiveness about electronics that goes back to his childhood. Through his art, Rath celebrates the symbiotic relationship we have with modern technology.

Absolutely represents a radical shift in Rath's practice from electronic images on screens to robotic sculptures. Long interested in physical mechanical movement, Rath set out to make robotic works that modified, rather than repeated, their own movements. Custom-designed software and motion detectors ensure that the sculpture movies at-will and "falls asleep" when no one is around. Though the combination of feathers with machinery might suggest a robotic bird, Rath resists the association. He fuses technological apparatuses with organic forms or found materials to make his sculptures "seem more alive," contending that, "I've been working on [my sculptures] for a long time for the movement to be organic and not be mechanical."