About the Artist
As the son of an immigrant tool and die maker, I was trained at a very young age to look carefully at how things work, to steal with my eyes (as my father put it) while poring over the shops and drafting tables of his practice. For many years, I explored form through the materials of industry, building everything from small wall studies to large scale outdoor installations out of steel. In the last few years, my interests changed, wanting to delve more into the plasticity of form and away from the rigidity of structure and engineering. Since then, I have begun working predominantly in ceramic. While this was a drastic material shift, my interest in the body, the built environment, and the mechanics of things remains constant. I am obsessed with the predicament of the human form, both its fragility and its dominance in the environment. My recent ceramic series investigates the body in a state of ambiguous metamorphosis. Irregular outgrowths in the material signal erratic germination or atrophy—a disfiguration of appendages. Where traditional figurative sculpture often captures a predictable motion in time and space, my work changes as the viewer moves around it. What happens on one side might be wholly unanticipated on the other. By working against symmetry, I challenge the expectations of wholeness for the body. Painting rather than glazing the ceramic allows me to more intuitively build a depth of dimension and color, radically experimenting with the experience of the object. Additionally, the forms are precarious—only a gesture or two away from collapse. Influenced by the particular uncertainty in contemporary culture, these strange bodily forms defy disambiguation. Their stilled and puzzled nature is a grasping for truth or a viable belief system.
Arny Nadler was born in 1969 in Chicago. He lives in St. Louis where he is an Associate Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Art at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis.