Rona Pondick: The Metamorphosis of an Object

Installation view

April 18 - October 11, 2009

Since achieving international prominence in the early 1990s, Rona Pondick has become one of the most accomplished sculptors of her generation. Over the past decade, she has combined both ancient sculptural methods and the latest 3-D computer technologies to produce a powerful group of sculptures that fuse human and animal bodies or human and flora forms. Pondick's hybrids evoke compelling cultural parallels from the Egyptian sphinx and Ovid's Metamorphoses to the disturbing promises of contemporary genetic manipulation.

Unlike other considerations of her sculpture, this exhibition presents Pondick's art as the lens for looking at centuries of world sculpture from the collection of the Worcester Art Museum that she feels resonate with her own creative process. Provocative juxtapositions of Pondick's hybrids with a personal selection of historic sculptures illustrate her connections to the past and her understanding of the effects of artistic cross-fertilization. Pondick's captivation with this phenomenon of the “metamorphosis of an object” and the fluidity of meanings over time is at the heart of this innovative project. The exhibition features 14 examples of Pondick's sculptures from the past decade and focuses on her particular interest in three aspects of sculpture—the communicative capacity of gesture and posture, the treatment of hair, and the effects of repetition.

(Left) Rona Pondick, Dog (detail), yellow stainless steel, 1998-2001. Courtesy of Sonnabend Gallery, New York, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/ Salzburg. (Right) Seated Buddha in Maravijaya (detail), bronze, late 15th/early 16th-century. Gift in memory of Cameron Horner Smyser, 1998.

I want to look at how sculpture is physical and how the physical makes psychological impact. Viewers have conscious and unconscious visceral responses to objects that they feel in their own bodies and that make psychological meaning. I am interested in looking at the way the psychological has been manifested in sculptures from all periods. When these different historic sculptures and mine are installed next to one another, there is a visual communication spoken in "body language" that needs little explanation. The sculptures start losing their historical place and take on more physical, emotional, and visceral relations with the viewer. Gestures and postures don't translate solely into symbolic interpretations particular to a culture or time period. Otherwise, why would people look at historic work?

Rona Pondick was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1952. After studying at Queens College, she received her Masters of Fine Arts at Yale University School of Art in 1977. Pondick gained public recognition in the mid-1980s, and since that time her sculpture and site-specific installations have been shown in important individual and group exhibitions throughout the world. Her work is included in major museum and private collections internationally. Pondick is represented by Sonnabend Gallery, New York and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg and exhibits regularly at Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston.

Catalogue Available

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Essays by curator Susan L. Stoops, critic Nancy Princenthal, and art historian Dakin Hart explore Pondick's hybrids in detail, illuminating their historical relation to art's originating impulses and offering an alternative model for understanding art. Additionally, new media curator George Fifield discusses Pondick's pioneering forays into digital prototyping over the past decade. Throughout its richly illustrated pages, Pondick thoughtfully reflects on her artistic roots and studio processes and shares with readers what she sees when looking at sculpture. The catalogue may be purchased in The Museum Shop for $45. It may also be purchased by phone by calling 508.799.4406, x3053.

Learn More

See the Gallery Guide and Installation Views for more information on this exhibition. Visit Rona Pondick's website at

This exhibition and publication are supported by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund; the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Fund at The Boston Foundation; and the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne. Generous additional support is provided by Worcester Magazine.

Related Events

Opening Reception for the Artist
Saturday, April 18, 2009, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Free with Museum admission.

Artist Talk: A Conversation with Rona Pondick - FULL
Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 6:30pm
Held in The Museum Café
Free with Museum Admission.
YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT. SPACE IS LIMITED. Pre-register by calling 508.793.4333
Rona Pondick has become one of the most accomplished sculptors of her generation. Join Rona as she talks about her work in the current exhibition, Rona Pondick: The Metamorphosis of an Object, and her artistic journey. Funding provided by the Amelia & Robert Hutchinson Haley Memorial Lectures Fund. Sorry, this event is full, consider signing up for the lecture on Rona's process on October 1st!

Rona Pondick: Modeling in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Thursday, October 1, 2009, 6:30pm
Held in the Contemporary Gallery
Free to Members, $5 for Non-members. No passes or discounts apply.
YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT. SPACE IS LIMITED. Pre-register by calling 508.793.4333 or online. Among an ever-shrinking handful of artists interested in the traditional techniques and culture of sculpture Rona Pondick analogizes her approach to sculpture-making to the values of the Slow Food movement. We will evaluate this analogy in the gallery, where we will look at how her work unifies the three principal sculptural strategies of the last century: modeling, selection, and assembly. Speaker Dakin Hart is the former Assistant Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, and he is currently completing a PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York.