Artworks made of multiple elements are not new to the modern era but contemporary artists have pushed their direction and visual potential. Through conceptual, metaphorical, and experimental lenses, artists literally make one object, or one ultimate work, out of many pieces. Component Parts features a wide range of media and approaches—both two and three-dimensional—that expand this conversation.
Sculptural configurations made of individual pieces can register as single objects with layers of information. Examples include Beth Lipman’s Still Life with Detritus, a sublime re-imagining in glass and wood of a historical still-life including the table it rests upon, and Eddie Dominguez’s ceramic Fish Dinner, a wall-mounted relief that cleverly uses underwater life-themed dinnerware to evoke an aquarium. Whereas Nancy Hild’s painting group, Allegory of the Seven Sins, could be understood as seven individual pieces, its narrative is most powerful when all of the paintings are considered in relation to one another. This part-to-whole idea is further underscored with print portfolios by individual artists—where one or two pieces could stand in for the whole but a different message is conveyed when larger numbers of works are viewed together at once.
Drawn from RAM’s collection, the works in this exhibition are united by conceptual choices in presentation yet they reflect a variety of perspectives and subject matter—from cultural, historical, and domestic issues to material and formal investigations.
Please note that because this is a long exhibition that includes artworks made of fragile materials, some works—and therefore some artists—will be changed midway through.