Alyson Shotz

Temporal Shift

“I would like my sculpture to be constantly changing, like the weather. When an object has an easily understandable structure or surface, one can know it too quickly… Light, time of day and angle of view all contribute to the change the sculptures can encompass.” — Alyson Shotz

Temporal Shift, a site-responsive sculpture by New York-based artist Alyson Shotz, is a refined meditation on time and space. The sculpture interacts with natural light and its surroundings to probe our perceptions of space and time. Its elliptical form alludes to the Earth’s revolution around the sun over the course of a year. Its mirrored surface of Temporal Shift reflects light and casts shadows to mark different times of day and seasons similar to a sun dial.

Trained as a painter, Shotz first ventured into sculpture in the early 1990s, where she began examining space and how it exists around us. At the core of her inquiry was the question: “does [space] stop at the edge of our bodies or are we made of space – do we encompass space?” While created years later, Temporal Shift continues Shotz’s line of questioning. Its reflective qualities absorb and camouflage the work into deCordova’s lush landscape, while also refracting and interjecting light into the nearby area – blurring definitions on where the sculpture begins or ends. Additionally, its elliptical, continuous shape alludes to infinity and boundlessness, and its large size and cosmic reference bring attention to our scale and place in the universe.

The sculpture was originally conceived as part of an interdisciplinary study on time at Grace Farms Foundation in New Canaan, Connecticut. Shotz often approaches her works conceptually, starting with a proposed hypothetical situation with an unknown outcome. She engages with materials like mirrors, glass, and steel to animate her work’s surroundings and evoke movement in a seemingly static object. Each viewer’s interaction with Temporal Shift as well as the time of its viewing further determine how the work is uniquely experienced and sensed.

Listen to Alyson Shotz discuss her creative practice and inspiration for Temporal Shift. 

Image: Alyson Shotz, Temporal Shift, 2021. polished stainless steel. 14’ (h) x 8.8’ (w) x 1.5” (d). Originally commissioned by Grace Farms Foundation as part of the Arts Initiative’s interdisciplinary study of time. Courtesy of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, The Trustees of Reservations, Museum purchase with funds provided by Steve and Betsy Kendall. Image: The Trustees