Chris Eckert: Mechanical Parables
January 17, 2015–April 19, 2015
The Museum of Craft and Design’s exhibitions and programs are generously supported by the Windgate Foundation and Grants for the Arts.
Chris Eckert’s obsessive craving to survey the artistic potential of factory automation through the lens of his religiosity using his extensive background as an engineer, is evidenced in this body of work. Whether automated or hand-cranked, the work embodies the macabre, with an exacting energy and aptitude for his dark passion. Eckert insists that technology be a means of expression, not the reason for expression. He claims to collect skills as a hobby which come from a wide variety of life experiences, but in truth, he has a natural ability to transcend a complicated medium brilliantly. Eckert has every reason to do something else because the process of this making is excruciatingly slow and very expensive to develop. But he is driven with intention, and using complicated technology effectively as a medium for personal expression, he mysteriously makes it disappear and with utmost precision, transcends the viewer into another place, another time.
Modern steampunk art and design draws its aesthetic, in part, from historical, fantasy, and sci-fi visions of a dark and newly mechanized 19th century. Lines between tool and decoration are blurred when technology and motorized machinery perform an expressive role. In popular culture, the steampunk sensibility has gained traction with an expanding audience of adults through trends in fashion, art, décor, music, and film.
The mechanical aspects of steampunk have antecedents in the Kinetic Art or kineticism (art that depends on motion or perceived motion for effect) of the 20th century Dada and Constructivist movements, which were themselves responses to dramatic changes in the human experience brought on by the prior century’s Industrial Revolution
Above Image: Chris Eckert, Auto Rosary, 2015, Museum of Craft and Design. Image courtesy of Kurt Lundquist.
Chris Eckert is an artist working in Southern California. His sculptures have been shown throughout the United States and Europe including venues in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Japan. Eckert received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University and his MFA from San Jose State University.