Jim Isermann

Untitled (2009)

Vacuum-formed styrene wall
40 feet by 96 feet
Site-specific commission

Located on Northwest Ramp Wall

Jim Isermann’s gigantic wall relief has been conceived and fabricated with the individual in mind. Its basic unit is a seven-foot-square module. This building block is slightly larger than an adult, familiar proportions that do not stretch the imagination, overwhelm the senses, or test the limits of comprehension.

That is what Isermann does when he lays out his human-scale building blocks, arranging 65 of them by turning every other one in the opposite direction of its neighbors. This simple gesture creates a complex pattern that transforms a 4,000-square-foot wall into an astonishingly beautiful abstraction that is a marvel of engineering and a pleasure to behold.

For the logically minded, Isermann’s work is an abstract jigsaw puzzle to be taken apart and reassembled in the mind’s-eye. To study any of its seven-foot sections is to see that each consists of 36 smaller panels that come in 11 different designs, making for nearly 2,500 separate parts. For the intuitively inclined, it is not difficult to understand his goals by stepping back and taking in an overall view. He makes basic shapes that add up to wholly unexpected experiences that defy explanation as they fuse art, design, and architecture.

Isermann was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and now lives in Palm Springs, California. For the last 30 years, he has been at the forefront of a movement to combine the logic of industrial production with the freedom of art – to unite the clarity of rationality with the thrill of something more. From wherever one stands, Isermann’s magnificently user-friendly installation embodies the excitement of being part of something bigger and more profound than usual.

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