Noah Scalin’s Portraits Made from Piles of Clothes

by Andy SmithPosted on

From certain angles, works by Noah Scalin can just look like piles and piles of clothes strewn along the floor. But at the right angle, absorbing portraits come into focus. Recent subjects include Hellen Keller, Maggie L. Walker, and others. The length of these sculptures can comprise around 30 feet. His work explores “the theme of transience – specifically the temporary nature of our individual lives and tenuous nature of human existence on the planet.”

One work, “The Mountaintop,” is made entirely of shoes. The artist commented on why this specific product was used: “We chose shoes as our medium, since they represent the diverse people that wore them. Young/old, male/female, black/white. These are the people that marched for civil rights, the people that carry on King’s legacy today, and also the people lost along the way. Shoes are frequently used in protests to represent people that have been lost to violence. Lined up in public places, these dramatic installations silently stand as a reminder of the very real humans behind the abstract numbers we encounter daily. What these shoes represent moving forward will be up to each of us individually.”

In another project that comments on human activity, the artist created guns that “have been clinically dissected revealing a remarkably human set of internal organs – rather than the cold steel and bullets normally found within.”

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