Art becomes biography for Mike Rathbun
By Dana Oland
The Boise Art Museum’s sculpture court looked more like a hard-hat area than an art space last week, as sculptor Mike Rathbun and crew sawed, hammered, rigged and hoisted his wooden epic 7 feet into the air.
The 190-foot cylindrical sculpture — titled “The Situation He Found Himself In” — sweeps through the space in a giant arc, bisecting the windows, reaching outside the building and appearing to reenter it through the smaller gallery space to the east.
Mike Rathbun’s muscular installations attest to his great stamina, his boundless energy and the breadth of his ideas.When I first encountered his work my imagination led me almost automatically to visions I did not fully understand :- I felt as if I was in the midst of a primeval landscape where giant trees were growing in such close proximity that the forest floor was covered in dense shade emanating muffled silences and invisible threats.
Among other sensory feelings the artist evokes and explores are the taste of fear, the dangers rising from the unseen and always present powers of … Read the rest
The Seattle Times, November 9, 2007
By Sheila Farr
Seattle Times art critic
You’ll step into a dark gallery and at first be left wondering what’s going on. Then, like a drumroll, a rumble of thunder starts up (presumably triggered by a motion sensor), and the light and sound show begins. At first, the patter is like the clacking of bamboo as a few pinpoint lights begin gently strobing above you (with soft blotches of light echoing on the floor). That all accelerates into an immersion of pattering and flickering light, like a quick, out-of-the-blue rain shower, … Read the rest
Seattle Pi, September 27, 2007
By Nate Lippens
Suyama Space lends itself to grandeur, and Portland-based sculptor Mike Rathbun’s sprawling, exuberant installation, “N47°36.878′ W122°20.788′, ” matches the challenge. His work is alive to the mysteries and difficulties of experience in a way that changes with each viewing.
The home of architecture firm Suyama Peterson Deguchi, Suyama Space also includes a fantastic, light-filled central gallery. Artists are commissioned to fill the space with site-specific installations. Rathbun has created an environment consisting of an airborne skeletal plane with thorny wooden vines reaching up through the frame. The mission, by … Read the rest
A thorny installation flies high.
Seattle Weekly, September 12, 2007
A thorny installation flies high.
The skeleton of an inverted airplane is caught in a stand of thorny vines, held high above an undulating wooden platform. Possessing the bulbous shape of an old aircraft (as opposed to, say, a sleek commuter plane), it’s perhaps a crashed pleasure flight. Or, as curator Beth Sellars suggests, maybe just a near miss, swooping up out of the water. Whatever narrative you adopt, the sculpture is in fact supported by the vines, a highly skilled trick of design, … Read the rest
The Stranger, August 21, 2007
By Jen Graves
I got a sneak preview last Friday of Portland-based sculptor Mike Rathbun’s giant, eye-popping installation Geographical Coordinates: N47°36.878’ W122°20.788’. It opens at Suyama Space September 10. [UPDATE: The artist has decided to drop “Geographical Coordinates” from the title. And while the show opens September 10, there is a public reception at the gallery September 7 at 5 pm and an artist talk at noon September 8.]
Since 1995, when Rathbun made a 70-mile solo voyage across Lake Superior in a handmade sailboat, he has been making objects titled by their … Read the rest
Mike Rathbun: N45°23.871′ W122°38.864′
Since 1995, Mike Rathbun has titled 11 constructions and installations by their geographic coordinates.
The Marylhurst installation makes it an even dozen.
Often his installations employ skeletal constructions of boats suspended above or lying alongside wave-like wood structures. These ambitious projects have been sponsored by sculpture parks, contemporary art institutes and university galleries, including Franconia Sculpture Park and the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minnesota; Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, New York; and Claremont Graduate University and California State University in San Bernardino.
In a recent conversation, Rathbun mentioned his interest in The Log … Read the rest
Online catalog, Student work, Rathbun piece – Summer 2000… Read the rest
On Art/ Deborah L. Knaff
Sunday, October 3, 1999, The Press Enterprise, Los Angles CA.
An engaging set of exhibits remind us how many people before us made art out of life’s brevity
The big name at the Robert V. Fullerton Art Gallery these days is Pablo Picasso. Although depending on your preferences, Nefertari is probably right up there in terms of name recognition.
The ceramics that Picasso collaborated on in various ways are both charming and artistic- or at least one or the other. And the reconstructed tomb of Queen Nefertari is especially sumptuous. The paintings … Read the rest
Twin Cities Reader,
February 14, 1996
Boat With Wings
by J.Z. Grover
Minneapolis Sculptor/adventurer makes ocean from pine boards and builds boats that soar.
Released from the confines of a red, ear flapped winter hat, Michael Rathbun has just arrived from his day job as a carpenter at a display company to work on his installation at the MIA’s Minnesota Artist Exhibition gallery.
He is a shiny faced balding man of 32, With a peaceful face and slow deliberate speech. He gives the impression of someone who spends a lot of time alone, even in company, perhaps intuiting his way … Read the rest
SHANA KAPLOW AND MICHAEL RATHBUN
by David Lefkowitz
1995 may go down as the year in which cyberspace became the new frontier of the cutting-edge artist. As such, painting and sculpture were eulogized yet again in the wake of supposedly more egalitarian, more flexible, and just plain better and cooler new technology. So it was heartening to encounter work in more traditional media that can still command attention and engender experience that is at once visceral and intellectual.
Two particular exhibits in the Twin Cities in the past year were just such encounters. Shana Kaplow’s paintings of discrete body parts … Read the rest