Here are all 4 sculptures in the A Non-Representative Model for Incomplete Ideas (Intricate Structures) Small Scale Model series. Number 1 is at the top and number 4 is at the bottom. This is another series of work that I find exists a little on the outskirts of what is acceptable as art. These pieces probably can’t be used in any submissions for exhibitions since they have no real obvious relevance to any of my other work and they hold very little physical presence as objects. They don’t possess what is considered a “Wow” factor meaning that they don’t excite the viewer visually with stimulating qualities like being “oversized”, super shiny or brightly colored or possess illusions that trick the eye. This also puts me at a disadvantage since I’m not interested in developing a cohesive body of work that is both recognizable and easy to commodify and I’m not interested in placating an audience with fancy well-thought out art objects who’s main interest is impressing them without any critical meaning or thought.
While working on the models I thought a lot about the role of design in art and how it has become a major aesthetic concern, not just as a seemingly subconscious necessity for a lot of artists, but for the art market/institution as an aesthetic ideal that should be perfected and followed unquestionably. Because of this I’ve developed a certain distaste for design (in art) and I distrust its intent, likening it to the same qualities that capitalism possesses within economics as a “predatory philosophy”. Here is something I wrote about it recently:
Most art problems exist as design problems. What differentiates design from art? Design in the end represents capital as a manifestation of ultimate gain through optimization, both through a “perfection” of the visual composition as it relates to the “idea” and of its purpose for a “practical” and widely distributed use. The difference is minute and is perhaps a philosophical problem wherein the divergence of differences is buried deep within the intent. I also think that in effect, on a basic level, that designers are interested in solving problems ie solutions whereas artists are or should be interested in questions perhaps without answers or solutions.
For this series I was interested in creating well crafted and intimate objects that needed to be viewed up close. I also wanted to use design as an un-escapable element, making it the main focus of the compositions. In this way I think that #2 and #4 are redundant and I can probably eliminate one of them from the series but maybe a little redundancy is good.
I found this un-used title in one of my notebooks the other day from 10 years ago that I thought sounded a lot like the title that I used here: A Concrete Appearance of Transparent Philosophical Ideas.
I finished A Non-Representative Model for Incomplete Ideas (Intricate Structure #4) Small Scale Model today and took a photo of it. It is 6″x6″x6″ and it’s design was taken from a photo that I took of a de-installed box used for a projector in a museum exhibition. This is the last piece that I’m going to make in this series and I don’t have any plans to make larger versions of them. Here is a photo of the final piece and the reference photo.
As well as working on A Non-Representative Model for Incomplete Ideas (Intricate Structures #3 and #4) Small Scale Models I’ve also been working on another small scale model of A Theory of Progress. This is a small model of what it will look like on a telephone pole and it’s called A Theory of Progress (An Accurate Model for a Cohesive Distributive Communication System). It took about 3 weeks to make since it required a lot of drying time for the glue. All the pieces are painted with gouache and represent 1″x3″ pieces of pine. After I started it I realized that the dowel that I used is probably too thick to represent a real telephone pole but the idea is the same. I eventually want to make this by finding wood (or buying it if I have to), painting them with bright colors and screwing them to a telephone pole somewhere outside my studio. Here it is after I photographed it. I also re-photographed the A Theory of Progress (Y and X) Small Scale Model as both a horizontal (X) and as a vertical (Y).
Here it is finished and the image that I made on the computer to use as a reference.
Here it is primed and lightly sanded. Below it is a sketch that used to figure out all of the angles and measurements for cutting. I only needed to figure out 1/4 of it since it’s made of 4 equal quadrants.
Here’s what I worked on today and yesterday. This is what it looks like after I glued it together and wood filled it and sanded it twice. Tomorrow morning I’ll prime it and then wood fill it and sand it again when I can see more imperfections. After that I’ll spray paint it flat black like I did with the other ones.
So last week I was having trouble with the A Non-Representative Model for Incomplete Ideas (Intricate Structure #3) Small Scale Model. The problem was that I wanted it blue, which was the color of the original ink transfer drawing that I made. I started by spray painting it with a gloss dark blue which I didn’t like at all so I painted it with Ultramarine Blue (Deep) gouache which was nice but splotchy. I sanded it again and spray painted it with some Gold Brand Acrylic spray paint that was dark blue. This was acceptable since it only had a slight sheen to it. I photographed it but as I was moving it from the photography table it fell to the floor and broke in 7 places. It must have hit just right because it landed flat, on a rug, from only about 3 feet. Oh well. I glued it back together and wood filled it and sanded it again. I decided at this point that I didn’t like the finish from the last spray paint can and I didn’t want to spray it again with that. I looked up Testors since I used their flat black and it turns out that they don’t make a flat blue. I bought another tube of Ultramarine Blue gouache since the other on was old, thinking that maybe if I used it straight out of the tube that it might not turn out splotchy. It did. I wiped it off and decided to spray it with the flat black instead and not worry about colors.
I think in the end that I’ll only make 4 in this series before I call it quits. I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t take long to figure out certain problems and that it’s better to move on once these things have been worked out. Here is the ink transfer drawing, the work in progress and the final photograph.
This weekend I started a new small scale bass wood sculpture as well as working on the “house” sculpture that I finished last week. The new sculpture that I’m working on is from one of the ink transfer drawings that I made a couple of weeks ago and is 9″x6″. This one is going to be flat but utilizes perspective which should make it interesting in the end. It’s going to be difficult to make because it has a lot of angles so clamping it together while the glue dries will be challenging. It will also need a lot of wood filler and sanding since there are so many places where the wood joins together. Last night I tacked it down and sprayed it with Windex to straighten out the sides and flatten it. Here is a photo of the initial stages of the gluing process and the ink transfer drawing that I made.
Here are some shots that I took of the pieces that I installed at Bose Paci’s Transparent Studio this week for the show Ghost Modernism that I’m doing with Artcodex. The pieces that I decided to show are (from left to right), A Theory of Progress Small Scale Model, A Non-Representative Model for Incomplete Ideas (Intricate Structure #1) and the modernist jail that I just finished. In the installation shot you can see the movie Visitation that we made being projected on the back wall, the library that I built and Ben Knight‘s piece Spectral In-sourcing.
Last week we (Artcodex) decided to make another film and set our sites on a visit to Piet Mondrian‘s grave which just happens to be in Brooklyn at Cypress Hill Cemetary. This is for the show Ghost Modernism that we’ve been working on at Bose Pacia down in DUMBO in preparation for our trip to The Hague in April. This is our sixth movie.
I’ve been to Mondrian’s grave before and the most fascinating thing is how unassuming his tombstone is and the way it gets lost in the rows of tombstones that look just like it. In classic Artcodex style we went to the cemetery not knowing what we were going to do and instead made it up as we went along. We took turns using the camera, acting and coming up with ideas. When we were done shooting we started editing pieces together, allowing a storyline to develop in the process. We settled on a simple structure where we would each approach Mondrian’s grave and we would each have a different experience there. Mike disappeared, I looked up and saw the trees moving, Vandana saw rocks placed on the tombstone and Glen crawls backwards. Once the format was established the rest fell into place rather quickly. Most of the ideas we developed together as a group as we went along and later we each individually tweaked certain things according to our preferences. The part where I look up at the sky and the trees was actually shot outside of Mike and Vandana’s house. The last sound that is heard is the hand dryer from the bathroom at the gallery that we then reversed, added sound effects to and layered with 3 versions. I did the final sound editing and added some ominous background music which fades in and out to finalize the movie. We named it Visitation. Here is a promo shot that Mike made and a link to the movie on Vimeo.