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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic | June 21, 1995
John Van Alstine's sculptures combining pieces of natural stone and found manufactured objects have always possessed the virtue of opposites brought together in a symbiotic relationship, thanks to Van Alstine's unerring judgment.An old piece of steel machinery, placed between two big granite rocks, as in "Vela II" from Van Alstine's current show at Grimaldis, reminds you of the line about Ginger Rogers giving Fred Astaire sex and Fred giving Ginger class. The piece of machinery makes the rocks look like they were shaped and refined just to keep it company; they in turn make the piece of machinery look as uncalculated as a natural object.
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By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC | September 26, 2000
It's always somewhat disconcerting for a critic to come across a work of art for which no words come readily to mind. That's a situation I find myself in over and over again when confronted by the sculpture of John Van Alstine, whose large-scale stone and steel constructions are on view at C. Grimaldis Gallery through the end of the month. To be speechless is a tip-off that a mystery may be involved, and so I find myself returning to these enigmatic works in search of some revelation, some intuition as to what they might be. I once described them as "gravity-defying" assemblages that confound the laws of physics.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | June 10, 1997
John Van Alstine's sculptures have raised the balancing act to high art, and his show at Grimaldis takes that art to new levels of depth and humor.Van Alstine's combinations of rock and pieces of industrial metal (or their replicas, cast in bronze) play the man-made off against the natural. But in this artist's hands there can often be a reversal of type, the rock so perfectly chosen for size and shape that it looks hand-made, while the metal pieces often have the graceful curves that one associates with natural forms.
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By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC | June 22, 1999
The gravity-defying sculptures of John Van Alstine, on view at C. Grimaldis Gallery through July 10, seem perfectly fitted to critic Arthur C. Danto's clever postmodern definition of art.Danto wrote that for a work to be considered art, it must fulfill two conditions. First, it has to be "about" something. And second, it must embody its meaning in the way it is constructed.This is, admittedly, a rather expansive definition of art -- some would argue that it is almost useless -- but it does have the advantage of being able to encompass such widely divergent works as, say, a Madonna by Raphael, a drip painting by Pollack and a Brillo box by Warhol.
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By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC | June 22, 1999
The gravity-defying sculptures of John Van Alstine, on view at C. Grimaldis Gallery through July 10, seem perfectly fitted to critic Arthur C. Danto's clever postmodern definition of art.Danto wrote that for a work to be considered art, it must fulfill two conditions. First, it has to be "about" something. And second, it must embody its meaning in the way it is constructed.This is, admittedly, a rather expansive definition of art -- some would argue that it is almost useless -- but it does have the advantage of being able to encompass such widely divergent works as, say, a Madonna by Raphael, a drip painting by Pollack and a Brillo box by Warhol.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic | May 19, 1991
Among the many things sculptors John Van Alstine and John Ruppert share is a delight in having their sculpture communicate with people who aren't necessarily art sophisticated."
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By Lourdes Sullivan and Lourdes Sullivan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | January 15, 1999
AMONG THE many interesting people in our little community are two blacksmiths.You may have noticed the work of Dutch Forge Blacksmiths in June at the Savage Fest. The father and son who make up the company demonstrated their ancient craft at the fair.Walter Lynn Van Alstine and his son, Walter Jr., began blacksmithing as a hobby.The senior Van Alstine is a carpenter by trade.Born in New York state and raised in Germany, he remembers waking up as a child to the sounds of pounding metal. Van Alstine lived across the street from a blacksmith.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic | May 2, 1991
The bringing together of the sculptures of John Van Alstine and John Ruppert at the C. Grimaldis Gallery's 1006 Morton St. space (through June 1) amounts to a creative act in itself. Itcreates something like a conversation between people who bring out the most of each other precisely because they are in certain ways opposites.Not that they don't have a considerable amount in common. Both create more or less abstract sculpture, Van Alstine of rock XTC and steel, Ruppert of sand-cast metals.
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By John Dorsey | November 2, 1994
Vandals over the weekend destroyed a $30,000 sculpture that was part of a C. Grimaldis Gallery outdoor sculpture show at the Inner Harbor.The sculpture, "Mercury's Caduceus" by John Van Alstine, was an 89-inch-high abstract work consisting of two pieces of granite joined by an elbow of bronze. The sculpture was toppled and destroyed beyond repair, said Mr. Grimaldis.The sculpture was one of four on a plaza outside Constellation Place, a building at Pratt and Light streets. The show was installed in mid-September and was to have remained until the end of this month.
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By Robert Haskins and Robert Haskins,Contributing Writer | September 3, 1992
The components of a John Van Alstine sculpture are deceptively simple. Large, rough-hewn slabs of granite are connected to each other with found steel objects. At times, the massive slabs balance precariously; at others, they recline in lyric serenity. Their economy of expression seems a deliberate abjuration of the overwhelming barrage of styles and techniques characteristic of visual art in our time.While an exhibit of new and recent pieces (most dated 1992) opening today at the C. Grimaldis Gallery certainly reinforces that impression, it is clear the artist's imagination is both subtle // and complex.
NEWS
By Lourdes Sullivan and Lourdes Sullivan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | January 15, 1999
AMONG THE many interesting people in our little community are two blacksmiths.You may have noticed the work of Dutch Forge Blacksmiths in June at the Savage Fest. The father and son who make up the company demonstrated their ancient craft at the fair.Walter Lynn Van Alstine and his son, Walter Jr., began blacksmithing as a hobby.The senior Van Alstine is a carpenter by trade.Born in New York state and raised in Germany, he remembers waking up as a child to the sounds of pounding metal. Van Alstine lived across the street from a blacksmith.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | July 21, 1998
There are some fine meetings of minds in the C. Grimaldis Gallery's current summer group show. Works by artists who may never have met one another just seem to go together.Mel Kendrick's "4 Point, Black Oil" and Grace Hartigan's "Spanish Still Life" share a sense of humor about inanimate objects that resemble humans. The Kendrick is an abstract sculpture that looks like it's trying to re-form itself into a human figure, and a two-handled vase in the Hartigan watercolor looks like a woman with her hands on her hips sashaying across the room.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | June 10, 1997
John Van Alstine's sculptures have raised the balancing act to high art, and his show at Grimaldis takes that art to new levels of depth and humor.Van Alstine's combinations of rock and pieces of industrial metal (or their replicas, cast in bronze) play the man-made off against the natural. But in this artist's hands there can often be a reversal of type, the rock so perfectly chosen for size and shape that it looks hand-made, while the metal pieces often have the graceful curves that one associates with natural forms.
FEATURES
By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | June 29, 1996
"Summer '96," Grimaldis' two-part summer show, brings us, as expected, the gallery's "stable" of artists -- beginning this month with eight sculptors (including drawings by five of them). Those who follow Grimaldis' exhibits will find no great surprises here (though a number of these works have not been shown here before); but it's a show eminently worth a visit anyway.To see these artists individually over a period of a couple of years is to appreciate each in turn; to see them together is to appreciate what an array of art this gallery brings to our doorstep from near and far.Here we have in one place works by John Van Alstine and Mel Kendrick from New York; Jon Isherwood, English and working in New York; Osami Tanaka, dividing his time between Japan and New York; Ulrich Ruckriem of Germany; Jan Van Oost of Belgium; John Ruppert and Paul Daniel of Baltimore.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic | June 21, 1995
John Van Alstine's sculptures combining pieces of natural stone and found manufactured objects have always possessed the virtue of opposites brought together in a symbiotic relationship, thanks to Van Alstine's unerring judgment.An old piece of steel machinery, placed between two big granite rocks, as in "Vela II" from Van Alstine's current show at Grimaldis, reminds you of the line about Ginger Rogers giving Fred Astaire sex and Fred giving Ginger class. The piece of machinery makes the rocks look like they were shaped and refined just to keep it company; they in turn make the piece of machinery look as uncalculated as a natural object.
FEATURES
By John Dorsey | November 2, 1994
Vandals over the weekend destroyed a $30,000 sculpture that was part of a C. Grimaldis Gallery outdoor sculpture show at the Inner Harbor.The sculpture, "Mercury's Caduceus" by John Van Alstine, was an 89-inch-high abstract work consisting of two pieces of granite joined by an elbow of bronze. The sculpture was toppled and destroyed beyond repair, said Mr. Grimaldis.The sculpture was one of four on a plaza outside Constellation Place, a building at Pratt and Light streets. The show was installed in mid-September and was to have remained until the end of this month.
FEATURES
By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC | September 26, 2000
It's always somewhat disconcerting for a critic to come across a work of art for which no words come readily to mind. That's a situation I find myself in over and over again when confronted by the sculpture of John Van Alstine, whose large-scale stone and steel constructions are on view at C. Grimaldis Gallery through the end of the month. To be speechless is a tip-off that a mystery may be involved, and so I find myself returning to these enigmatic works in search of some revelation, some intuition as to what they might be. I once described them as "gravity-defying" assemblages that confound the laws of physics.
FEATURES
By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | June 29, 1996
"Summer '96," Grimaldis' two-part summer show, brings us, as expected, the gallery's "stable" of artists -- beginning this month with eight sculptors (including drawings by five of them). Those who follow Grimaldis' exhibits will find no great surprises here (though a number of these works have not been shown here before); but it's a show eminently worth a visit anyway.To see these artists individually over a period of a couple of years is to appreciate each in turn; to see them together is to appreciate what an array of art this gallery brings to our doorstep from near and far.Here we have in one place works by John Van Alstine and Mel Kendrick from New York; Jon Isherwood, English and working in New York; Osami Tanaka, dividing his time between Japan and New York; Ulrich Ruckriem of Germany; Jan Van Oost of Belgium; John Ruppert and Paul Daniel of Baltimore.
FEATURES
By Robert Haskins and Robert Haskins,Contributing Writer | September 3, 1992
The components of a John Van Alstine sculpture are deceptively simple. Large, rough-hewn slabs of granite are connected to each other with found steel objects. At times, the massive slabs balance precariously; at others, they recline in lyric serenity. Their economy of expression seems a deliberate abjuration of the overwhelming barrage of styles and techniques characteristic of visual art in our time.While an exhibit of new and recent pieces (most dated 1992) opening today at the C. Grimaldis Gallery certainly reinforces that impression, it is clear the artist's imagination is both subtle // and complex.
FEATURES
By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic | May 19, 1991
Among the many things sculptors John Van Alstine and John Ruppert share is a delight in having their sculpture communicate with people who aren't necessarily art sophisticated."
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