3/21/15 3:00 PM
Concrete masonry units, commonly known as cinder blocks, are large rectangular bricks made from cast cement and aggregate. They are industrially manufactured and used to build everything from third world homes to sports stadiums. Tara Morton laboriously casts hers by hand, and though crafted with great care and proper materials, you would not use them to hold up a building. For one, CMUs are designed to work in combination with multiple identical units. For another, they need regular right angles in order to do so. Morton’s blocks are one of a kind. You might, however, stand atop “Cinder Block #1” and delight in trying to balance on its rounded bottom. “Cinder Block #2 (car prop)” would do well on a pedestal, its jaunty angle a sculptural pleasure all its own. The question of purpose (parenthetical specification or not) is one explicitly raised by the uniqueness of Morton’s sculptures, but cinder blocks have always been used for more purposes than one: dorm room bookshelf or trailer park home foundation, it’s still just a cinder block to me.