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Contraptions by John Dorrance

July 15 - August 19, 2023

Viewers were immersed in the whimsical world of John' sinteractive kinetic sculptures. Part science fiction, engineering with a dash of childlike wonder and tinkering fun, John's resulting sculptures are weird and wonderful contraptions powered by electric pencil sharpeners. Using a menagerie of found objects, classical mechanics, vintage tous and custom laser cut wood, viewers had access to relatable technology and a shared history. Many of John's sculptures feature themes inspired by classic horror and sci-films of the 1950s and 60s, favorite toys, as well as personal narratives of parenthood, favorite places and current events.

Until 2017, John kept his creations private as a method to challenge himself and as a form of relaxation in his studio. We are glad he has started sharing his work and hope thid exhibition expand your notion of art, brings fun to your day, and inspires you to play. 

John asks," whats this older artist's future goal?"

I envision creating a piece for a children's museum somewhere, an enormous music box powered by young visitors pedaling a tricycle. It will be connected to a giant purple-red octopus playing " Row, Row, Row Your Boat", or whatever song the children program onto the magnetic-drum cylinder.

"Unlikely," you might comment.

" Not in your dreams, " I'd say.

John Dorrance is an artist based in Morgan Hill, California. He holds a BS in Journalism from San Jose State University, with a minor in Biology. John worked as a staff writer, reporter and editor for numerous local publications including San Francisco Magazine, City Sports Magazine, and at the San Jose Mercury. John was also a naturalist and educator for Santa Clara County Parks. Since retirement, he's worked as a part-time instructor for De Anza College's Euphrat Museum, for which he designed and taught combination art classes on kinetic sculpture and model rocketry. He was also an Artist-in-Residence at the TechShop in San Jose.

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