June 15 - Aug. 17, 2008
The William D. Cannon Art Gallery presented "Kenneth Capps: Metered," an exhibition of more than 40 sculptures by nationally acclaimed Carlsbad sculptor Kenneth Capps.
Carlsbad resident Kenneth Capps has been a significant figure in the American art scene for the past 30 years. Known primarily as a sculptor, Capps creates work that expresses a strong minimalist sensibility. His use of materials such as steel, and his focus on geometric shapes, place his work squarely within a modern, industrial aesthetic. And yet, he also integrates sensuous, organic forms into his work, in effect softening those hard edges with a surprising humanism. Constantly testing classical ideals – balance versus proportion, symmetry versus asymmetry, mass versus void – his sculptures seem to live in two worlds simultaneously: one moment feeling like some man-made piece of machinery capable of moving tons of earth, and the next moment, like some organic part of that earth and its natural environment.
For Capps, the title of this exhibition has, like most of his works, multiple meanings and connotations. On one hand, the title refers to one of the artist’s works from 1989, Meter XII, which in this installation, literally seems to stand guard over – or monitor – the rest of the works in the Gallery. For Capps, this image reflects society’s sad, but evident need to monitor changes and potential dangers in the environment, such as air quality. Humans must monitor, watch the meter. But, as in most of his work, Capps also wants his audience to think of the opposite as well: increasingly, people are the ones being metered – monitored, measured, watched – by test scores in school, by income level, by body mass, by ethnicity, by pollsters.
Ultimately, almost all of Capps’ work is an investigation – and resolution – of the tension created between opposites: between an artwork and its viewer, between a sculptural form and its surroundings, between the literal and the metaphorical; between conflict and harmony. For the viewer, it doesn’t mean that one position or the other needs to be taken; rather it means there are many points of entry into this physically and philosophically bold body of work.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Kenneth Capps has lived and worked in Carlsbad for over twenty years. In 1973, while still a student at the University of California, San Diego, he was invited to exhibit at the prestigious Storm King Sculpture Center in upstate New York. His career hasn’t waned since. His work has been featured in exhibitions and permanent collections throughout the United States, including the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Massachusetts, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, and Bayside Park, San Diego. Capps has received several grants and awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Recently, three of his drawings were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for their collection of post-war drawings. Four years ago, Capps began establishing a foundation for his work in Warner Springs, California, where he is currently constructing a studio, research center and 40-acre sculpture park.