Vessels Absent (installation detail)
Vessels Absent Installation by Aaron Stephan
Maine-based artist Aaron Stephan has created a site-specific installation for the Museum of Art. In Vessels Absent, the artist offers a witty critique of one’s perception of art. He encourages individuals to question the relationship between the viewer and the art object within the context of a museum environment.
Stephan has created an assortment of large, freestanding wooden crates that take on the form of weighty oversized human figures. The wooden crates stored in the backrooms of museums are containers for transporting precious works of art, but in this installation, the crates themselves are the art. The eight foot tall sculptural works are arranged in the space as if they are observing art in the gallery. Each figure, constructed from low grade plywood and strapping material, appears to be contemplating the blank walls—heads cocked to the side and arms folded in contemplation. It seems as if the artist has cleverly turned the tables. Is the viewer in fact the subject in Stephan’s installation?