Modern Art: Stainless Steel By Rona Pondick

Rona Pondick’s modern art sculptures have evolved stylistically, taking on an increasingly heightened realism since the 1980s, yet the notion of metamorphosis has proved a consistent theme, inspired by Kafka’s psycho-surrealist drama and the ancient mythologies of Egypt and Greece. This is the main inspiration for her creations that are kind of odd.

Rona Pondick’s modern art sculptures have evolved stylistically, taking on an increasingly heightened realism, with a notion of metamorphosis in each work.

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Pondick’s subject matter, materials, and process are characterized by hybridity: handcrafted elements fuse with computer-enabled techniques and surfaces are often half glossy, half matte. The yellow stainless steel Dog (1998-2001), for instance, features her own face superimposed on a dog’s body, forming a sphinx-like creature. “The first time I merged a fragment of my own body with an animal, a lightbulb went off,” she says, referring to a realization that such hybrids have existed since the Neolithic era. Pondering scientific advancements in cloning and genetic mutations, she adds, “it’s chilling how it all comes together.”

For the past decade, Pondick has been at work on a strange menagerie, seamlessly grafting her own head and hands—matte stainless-steel likenesses derived from life casts—onto stylized, highly polished stainless-steel animal bodies of disproportionate sizes.

“What we try to express in our work: a contradictory nature, an understanding that something is not singular, that it’s always open-ended. And in order to express that, you need to show it visually, not textually. I think one of the strongest aspects of working visually is being able to experiment with opposite or disparate qualities.”- says the artist.

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