Sullivan Goss
AN AMERICAN GALLERY
Celebrating 27 Years of 19th, 20th and 21st Century American Art
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Ken Bortolazzo

(b. 1947)

Abstract, Kinetic Sculptor in Stainless Steel

by Gallery Historians

Ken Bortolazzo's early passion for complex puzzles evolved through his interest in Minimalism, Op Art, and Kinetic sculpture towards a body of work called optikinetics � kinetic sculptures in stainless steel that exploit the radiance of burnished steel and the optical interference patterns called Moire effects to produce a sculptural vocabulary that is as much about light as it is about form and space. From his studio in Santa Barbara, Ken has developed a national reputation in contemporary sculpture.




Table Of Contents

I. Biography

Born of the Santa Barbara sun, wind and waves, Ken Bortolazzo's sculpture are an invitation to examine the dichotomy between object and nature, and to ultimately, explore the possibilities that dwell within that vision. At once substantial and delicate, his metal works can be a metaphor for both human sturdiness and frailty. With a lifetime of hands-on experience, Bortolazzo tackles the larger issues of man-made versus nature and merges it with a rare sensitivity.

Bortolazzo discovered his creative passion for welded sculpture at an early age. Working primarily in mild and stainless steel as well as bronze, copper, silver and gold, he collaborated with many prominent artists, including Julio Agostini, Kenneth Noland and most importantly, George Rickey. During their twelve year working relationship, Ken evolved from studio assistant to Rickey’s acknowledged colleague. He remains a conservator of Rickey's work for the estate. Bortolazzo skillfully mastered the use of stainless steel and the custom designed pivots and bearings used in Rickey's renowned kinetic works. This valuable experience inspired Bortolazzo's own work, and his highly geometric shapes soon emerged with greater regularity; taking on a persona of their own. Today Bortolazzo's sculptures span many artistic modes, from small, intimate pieces and works of kinetic playfulness to large monumental sculpture. He brings aesthetics, science, mechanical skill and an illusionist's insight to all he creates.

His early fascination of complex puzzles is evident in Ken’s intricate interlocking geometric forms. These structured sculptures subtly suggest their beginnings in the natural order of things: the rhythm and sequence of breaking waves, rock formations and plant growth. His large works play with light and scale, and reference the post-industrial landscape. His later kinetic works feature dynamic optical effects. Constructed out of burnished perforated stainless steel, they move and create a physical phenomenon known as optical interference patterns, a moiré effect. Bortolazzo's sense of craftsmanship defies the challenge of the material used, and each work finds a delicate balance between solidity and lightness.

Currently being shown extensively on the West Coast, Bortolazzo's sculpture can be seen in regional galleries, museums and public collections, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Outdoor Art, Denver and Microsoft corporate headquarters, Seattle. His work is also collected and represented throughout the United States, England, Japan and New Zealand.

III. Education & Affiliation

  • 1966-1972 Santa Barbara City College, AA, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1969-1971 Julio Agostini, Santa Barbara, CA, Apprentice
  • 1988 Kenneth Noland, Santa Barbara, CA, Studio help
  • 1989 Professor Irma Cavat, UCSB, Art Collaborations
  • 1985-1997 George Rickey, West Coast Studio Assistant
  • 1998-Present Conservationist, George Rickey Estate, NY
  • IV. Exhibitions

  • 1986 Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1987 Hudson River Museum, Hudson, NY
  • 1987 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
  • 1987 Kirkpatrick Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
  • 1987 El Paso Museum, El Paso, TX
  • 1988 Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY
  • 1998 Newport Harbor Museum, Newport, CA
  • 1989 Science World, Vancouver, Canada
  • 1990 University Center Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1990 Arpel Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1990 Arpel Gallery, Arts Festival Exhibition, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1990 Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Sherman Oaks, CA
  • 1991 Ken Bortolazzo, Arpel Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1991 Malibu in June, Carl Schlosberg, Malibu, CA
  • 1992 Un Ange Passe, Westmont College, Montecito, CA
  • 1993 Malibu International Sculpture Exhibition, Carl Schlosberg, Malibu, CA
  • 1994 CHAIRity, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1994 Ken Bortolazzo, Concourse Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 1994 Weston Resort Exhibition, Valerie Miller Fine Arts, Palm Desert, CA
  • 1995 Home Works, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1995 2x2, Two Artists Two Mediums, Judy Kay Assoc., San Francisco, CA
  • 1996 Malibu in July, Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Malibu, CA
  • 1996 Recent Works, Fielding Institute, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1998 Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, 25th Anniversary Show, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1998 Chair2, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1988 The Shape of Things, Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • 1999 Malibu Summer Sculpture Exhibition, Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Malibu, CA
  • 1999 El Paseo Sculpture Exhibition, Palm Desert, CA
  • 1999 Winter Show, SOMA Gallery, La Jolla, CA
  • 2000 Anne Reed Gallery, Ketchum, ID
  • 2001 Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Malibu and Sherman Oaks, CA
  • 2002 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, CA
  • 2002 From A Private Collection, Robert Light Fine Art, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2003 Optikinetic, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2003 Small Image Show, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2003 The Peninsula Show, Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, CA
  • 2004 The Peninsula Show, Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, CA
  • 2004 Still Lifes, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2005 Malibu Summer Sculpture Exhibition, Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Malibu, CA
  • 2006 Optikinetics II, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2006 Ken Bortolazzo, Retrospective, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2007 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Carl Schlosberg Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, CA
  • 2008 Optikinetics III, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2010 OPTIKINETICS: SCULPTING SPACE / BENDING LIGHT, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2010-2011 Ken Bortolazzo at the Jardin de las Granadas, City of Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2012 Ken Bortolazzo: Equipoise, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA


  • HEXAD (SMALL)
    1988
    11" x 12" x 12"
    Stainless steel
    Here, the artist's puzzle geometry is made explicit in an exquisite table top sculpture whose interlocking pieces suggest both the problem and the solution.

    V. Collections

  • Microsoft, Seattle,WA
  • Museum of Outdoor Art, Denver, CO
  • PTI Technologies, Oxnard,CA
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA


  • RHOMBOID COLUMN - MEDIUM
    2003
    21" x 7" x 4"
    Stainless steel
    Exhibited, Optikinetic, 2003 - Sullivan Goss
    The artist's evolving interest in forms which morph from opaque to transparent and back suggest a new phase in his career. Having studied and worked under acclaimed kinetic sculptor, George Rickey, Bortolazzo is poised to create groundbreaking work of exceptional craftsmanship.

    VI. Awards & Publications

  • 2002 Art in America (August 2002)
  • 2001 Art in America (August 2001)
  • 1992 First place in sculpture, Westmont College, Montecito, CA
  • 1989 Juror’s choice, Science World, Vancouver, Canada
  • VI. WORKS FOR SALE BY THIS ARTIST


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