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Gunnar Theel
Right Angles #36
2000
Steel
Gift of Jack and Joan Goldman and museum purchase, 2007.22

“Essential to my work is the right angle in the physical world and its inherent sensations of equilibrium and quiet,” so the artist of Right Angles #36, Gunnar Theel has stated. This “quiet and equilibrium” that Theel has embraced is an interesting concept for making sculpture. Looking closely at just the cornered edges of the work, they do seem to embody an architectural stillness. But what else has the sculptor given us to consider? What else has he done to his “quiet” sculpture?

Walking around the work, we notice that one right angle has been tilted, or rather, set in motion. Theel has animated, or disturbed, the equilibrium of the work. What does this do for the sculpture? How would the piece feel if the section were not tilted? By slightly tilting the section, it appears to be falling or moving. By contrasting the two groups, one moving, one not moving, Theel has in effect, started a “conversation” between them. Another way to consider these two simple comparisons, is from the principle of yin/yang. Opposites come into play: order/disorder, calm/energy, equilibrium/unbalanced, and so on. Several of the sculptures in the park invoke this notion of a conversation of opposites. Can you find other works which have that conversation, that kind of representation within themselves?