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Chris Bathgate’s gorgeous machined sculptures

2010-3

2010-2

Chris Bathgate’s machined sculptures

n contrast to many of his contemporaries, Chris Bathgate’s use of metal is neither structural nor illusionistic. It does not refuse to transform the medium, and it does not play on the medium’s opposites, e.g. lightness from metal’s weight, or organic forms from its rigidity.

Bathgate’s process most closely resembles that of a machine builder or engineer. In the last two years, he has become increasingly involved in using mathematical techniques. This has allowed him to achieve the high degree of precision necessary for assembling such intricate works (these sculptures are not cast). The result is indeed a transformation-the pieces fit together in such a way that they cease to appear man-made, and yet in spite of this lack of bumpiness or personal touch emanate a presence that is unmistakable and engaging.

Bathgate’s entities are like instances of a foreign intelligence. Being uninhibited by pretensions to flesh, these sculptures call a type of ‘creature feeling’ reflecting their intellectual (as opposed to emotional) humanism.

According to Bathgate, every sculpture is an experiment in response to an abstract opposed to pragmatic problem-it does not work towards a presumed result. From the point of view of the process, a finished work is not an end in itself but a place that one goes to.


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