Dane Winkler: Timepiece Mythos

On View: June 19 - November 5, 2021


Timepiece Mythos is an interactive sculpture by Dane Winkler constructed entirely out of materials from a dismantled 100-plus year-old barn. Winkler disassembled the barn on its original site in Ramseur, North Carolina and transformed the century-old materials into a new structure that is installed on Arlington Arts Center’s lawn.

Winkler describes Timepiece Mythos as an “architectural folly” – a term that typically refers to small buildings with no clear function, constructed in striking or fantastical designs. The artwork references the form of a barn — an especially functional type of building which nonetheless might seem purposeless or out of place in the dense, urban environment surrounding AAC. The work is shaped in a semi-circle, suggesting a portal or pathway which can be entered on either end. Visitors can move through the structure, but they leave the work on the same vertical plane where they began, a conundrum that references the cyclical nature of history and the tendency of the past to repeat itself.

In creating the work, Winkler was inspired by origin stories and flood narratives, including the story of Noah’s Ark. Poet Ocean Vuong has imagined the level of pressure attached to Noah’s task: “What an incredible mythos to work and live by, which is that when the apocalypse comes, what will you put into the vessel for the future?”.

Winkler’s recent personal experiences also influenced the conception and execution of the work. As the artist explains:

My siblings and I spent the summer of 2020 completely rebuilding the 18th century farmhouse where we grew up in upstate New York. It was equally needed for structural repair as well as spiritual transformation. Wondering about that as well as those who built the structure, and who was there first, and what the land felt like that long ago was an unwieldy and cathartic experience. In ways, the house feels like a ‘vessel for the future’.

Timepiece Mythos acts as a portal to both the past and the future, asking viewers to imagine the history of the materials used and the potential for transformation that the new structure represents. The artwork suggests that, while we cannot simply discard materials from our past, we might be able to transform them into a vessel that can carry us away from the past and into the future.

About the Artist
Dane Winkler is currently an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  He grew up on a small farm in upstate New York where he learned about animal husbandry, craftsmanship, and hard work. His artwork often harkens back to peculiar memories from his childhood on the farm, in conversation with his surroundings. He received his BFA from the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh in 2012 and his MFA at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2016.  His work has been exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions including at Rosalux Gallery (Minneapolis, MN), Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, NY), Hamiltonian Gallery (Washington, DC), and the Delaware Contemporary Art Museum (Wilmington, DE) among many other venues.  He has received many grants and awards, notably; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2017-18, an Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Art in 2015, and a Forecast Public Arts Planning Grant in 2013.

In the video below, watch artist Dane Winkler disassemble the barn that became Timepiece Mythos.

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