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May 7, 2014updated May 19, 2014

Kinetic Sculptures by Bob Potts at the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery

By Chris Boyle

The M.A.D.Gallery is delighted to host seven elegant kinetic sculptures by American artist Bob Potts.

In his one-man workshop housed in an 1850s barn, Potts creates ethereal kinetic sculptures capturing the very essence of natural rhythmical movements like the flight of birds or the oars of boats in his inimitable style. The 72-year-old is a connoisseur of form, movement, and visual grace.

My work is the manifestation of ideas that come to me from the natural world. The grace and form of all living things, and the way they interact, leaves me in awe.

The New York state-based artist manages to capture this reverence for nature by using a pallet of gears, cranks, sliders, levers and chain links to create kinetic sculptures. Potts invests substantial amounts of creativity and energy into his pieces. His sculptures can take up to a year to complete and each work of art is a unique piece.

Despite their apparent intricacy, the pieces are surprisingly minimalist. Potts uses the bare minimum to replicate each motion, without unnecessary ornamentation or flourish.BobPotts-DenizenOfTheDeep-1

In the movements of each piece, every part is necessary. In that respect, the form follows the function.”

The San Francisco native is always searching for the gracefulness that surrounds us and his sculptures are vehicles for bringing that elegance to life.

The seven sculptures on show at the M.A.D.Gallery are Ascension, Pursuit II, G Plane, Wings, Synchronous Cycle, Denizen of the Deep and Cosmographic Voyager.

While Potts seeks inspiration from the natural world, his pieces are not pure imitations of nature.

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These sculptures are not meant to mimic or present a realistic action, they are meant to evoke that gracefulness through a mechanical device.

Potts is best known for his “wing-beat” sculptures such as Ascension, which capture the essence of flying wings in a seamless and fluid manner. The wing movements are reminiscent of the graceful flight of swans or geese over a lake: Effortless and elegant.BobPotts-Ascension-detail

His ode to nature also extends to fish. Potts’s Synchronous Cycle sculpture captures the synchronicity of a shoal of fish moving in perfect harmony. The beauty of this sculpture lies in his ability to re-create on land a movement largely determined by water.BobPotts-SynchronousCycle-2

The human world is not forgotten either. The aptly named Cosmographic Voyager showcases the rhythmic propulsion of human-powered ships of the past. To Potts, it is a spirit ship, much like the Egyptian or Norse burial ships.

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