Tom Otterness

Tipping Point

Sep 14 — Oct 14, 2017
New York, Uptown

Marlborough is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Tom Otterness. Tipping Point will consist of 19 new sculptures in bronze as well as 12 works on paper. The works range in scale from compact to monumental.

The well-known figures of Tom Otterness express the effect of universalizing form; everything from facial features and bodily shapes to intent and emotion is distilled to an indelible, original essence. Each sculpture is recognizable as his own and at the same time steeped in art history, fables, inventive allegories or twists on current events. Denizens of the artist’s world are brave adventurers and clever problem solvers who embody the ceaseless wonder and theatrical precariousness of the human condition.

As writer Carlo McCormick states in the catalogue for the exhibition, “There is in the rambunctious hurly-burly celebration of life in Otterness’ art something wonderfully askew, a disorder forever bubbling under the cool surface and impeccable compositional integrity of his sculptures.”

The bronze work entitled Tipping Point depicts two figures in a balletic battle for the metaphoric and physical higher ground. A smaller “Cone” uses a cane to topple a “Sphere” many times its own size, and in the forever frozen moment, the large figure balances on the toes of one foot while using its other leg and free arm to grasp at the air for balance. The figures are atop a platform, and although the imminent fall has not taken place, one quickly becomes aware of the gravity of the situation. In Girl With Flower, a bronze youngster sits cross-legged contemplating a bloom as the flower returns her gaze.

Inversions and unexpected events run thematically throughout the exhibition. In addition to fundamental forces of the planet such as gravity, sociological forces are ever-present, and whether large or small, young or old, upside down, hunched in a corner or laying prone, these new figures by Otterness are communicative and steadfast. In portraying life’s moments, they allude to universal truths. Like most of us here on earth, they sometimes teeter and sometimes triumph.

Sculptures by Tom Otterness are in the collections of numerous museums including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Miyagi Museum of Art, Sendai; Beeldenaan Zee Museum, The Hague; and Institut Valencia d’Art Modern (IVAM), Centro Julio Gonzalez, Valencia. Commissioned public projects include the United States courthouses in Minneapolis and Sacramento, an extensive installation at the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City, Life Underground in multiple areas of the MTA 14th Street A-C-E-L subway station in New York City, The Marriage of Real Estate and Money at New York City’s Roosevelt Island, and Other Worlds at Hamad International Airport, Doha.

Otterness, originally from Wichita, Kansas, has been a New York resident since the 1970s, where he works from his studio in Brooklyn.

An illustrated catalogue will be available at the time of the exhibition.


Otterness, tipping point, 2017, bronze, ed. of 3, 85 x 65 x 26 in., non 59.365
Tipping Point, 2017, bronze, edition of 3, 83 × 58 1/4 × 29 in., 210.8 × 148 × 73.7 cm
Otterness, girl with flower, 2017, bronze, ed. of 3, 32 3 4 x 15 x 22 in., non 59.374
Girl with Flower, 2017, 6 3/4 × 16 × 10 in., 17.1 × 40.6 × 25.4 cm
Otterness, youth and age, 2017, bronze, ed. of 6, 28 x 22 1 2 x 12 in., non 59.373
Youth and Age, 2017, 22 1/2 × 28 × 12 in., 57.2 × 71.1 × 30.5 cm
Otterness, dog walker, 2017, bronze, ed. 2 of 6, 40 1 2 x 28 x 16 in., non 59.473
Dog Walker, 2017, 28 × 40 1/2 × 16 in., 71.1 × 102.9 × 40.6 cm