I’ve been working on both the small scale model and the sculpture of A Theory of Progress Table. I finished building the small scale model the other day and started painting it. I started by using gouache because I really like the brilliance of gouache paints but decided that it would be a bad idea to use it; gouache cannot be painted over because it becomes active again when water is applied. Since the model was going to involve a lot of touching up I figured that it would be better to switch to acrylic so I’m using the same water based acrylic enamel that I used for Journey Into the Realm of Reason. Below is a photograph of part of it painted.
I also started making the table from the lattice strips that I got from work. I started by screwing down my chop saw and making a “stop” at one end so that my pieces could be cut exactly the same at 25.5 inches which is the width of 20 pieces of wood. I cut 106 and 6 of these (20 for the top and 96 for all 4 sides). After I was done with these I made a stop at 1.25 inches using a piece of wood and a clamp. I need over a 1000 of these so I’m going to cut bunches of them as I go. Below is a photo of the first 5 rows. There will be 48 in the end. I sort of like the white and pale green colors of the original paint and I’ve been thinking about keeping it but I think it looks a little like a table from Crate and Barrel.
This weekend I finished the construction of the small scale model for A Theory of Progress Table. The model is 1″x2″x2″ and I made it using Balsa wood. I started by cutting the pieces fro the top and sticking them together with a piece of blue tape. I cut a piece of square wood to build the table around by subtracting the width of the slats on each side. I glued the block of wood to the underside of the top and clamped it to dry. I cut and glued the slats around the outside of the block, starting at the top and working my way down until I was even with the bottom. I alternated the slats so that it would look like every other row was turned perpendicular to the one before it and I will grid every other row to help with the illusion. I sanded all of the sides to make them flat. Over the next week or so I’ll begin making a grid on it and paint it. Here’s a photo of it before I sanded it but after I was done constructing it.
Tomorrow I’m picking up a large quantity of wood strips from work that I’m going to use to make a small table. The table will be 12″x25″x25″ and will be made using 1/4″x24″ strips of colored wood. This will be a continuation of the A Theory of Progress project that I’ve been working on. I like this particular project because the colored strips of wood can be applied to an infinite amount of ideas with similar results to create a blanket “look” that is versatile and noticeable. In a way it’s half tongue-in-cheek since I really dislike design as a motivating factor in art and find that it’s a predatory philosophy within aesthetics. At the same time I find a small bit of joy at applying myself to simply designing and creating what is essentially furniture that I’m also going to try and claim is art. I also still have plans to make I Was A Landscape In Your Dream which is also going to be a table.
I made a couple of drawings of early designs but settled on a design that alternates the direction of the slats from row to row. The final design will be 48 rows high and 20 wide. Here is a sketch I made on the computer of the 4 sides and the top.
I made these pen and ink drawing in 2002 of various US military aircraft that use General Electric parts in them called GE: We Bring Good Things To Light. General Electric, which owns NBC, also makes engine parts for US military aircraft as well as parts for missiles and bombs used for the US military. The drawings were actually made on 22″x30″ paper that were mounted in a series of black frames that I got from work but I cropped the final images to get rid of most of the white space. I also wanted to make small plastic models about the same subject matter but I only made part of one before I quite;it was going to be a lot of work and I wasn’t totally convinced about the project. I imaged a series of 10 grey military aircrafts on a shelf. This was at a time when I was trying to find another way to use models and politics in my art. I settled on the drawings but in the end I didn’t think that they were very impressive. They weren’t necessarily good drawings and the execution was underwhelming. I don’t think that I ever proposed to show them anywhere and the project sort of went flat. I think that the idea behind the project was good but my interest in “lame” drawing at the time only proved to be a disappointment overall in the end. I wanted the politics to be important and at the same time was trying to de-mystify art which became a catastrophic combination. I also thought that by putting the project under the Associated Artists for Propaganda Research that it would be part of a more cohesive context that would protect it from normal scrutiny. I wanted the AAPR to encompass the good as well as the experimental and this is a project that definitely got lost in the mix.
I’m exhibiting From the Light Above at a group show at the gallery OK Harris Works of Art this summer from June 1st to September 3rd. The show is called Illuminators and all the works deal with light as a subject matter. It’s obvious why they chose my painting for the show since it’s literally a painting of a light. I thought about showing them The Architect’s Tomb but the gallery mostly deals with “realism” so I didn’t think that they’d be interested but it turns out that they have some abstract light pieces in the show as well. I’ve never shown The Architect’s Tomb and I’ve shown From the Light Above a couple of times so I would have rather shown The Architect’s Tomb. Also From the Light Above is almost 4 years old but that’s Ok, I’m just not that excited about it. Here’s an updated statement that I wrote for it and an image of it.
From the Light Above represents one of mankind’s greatest inventions-light-and delivers it in one of its cheapest and most efficient forms: fluorescent. It is painted using the traditional techniques of under-painting and blocking. A thin wash of ultramarine blue gives the background a slight tone and helps create a rich, black surface. The light itself is blocked out with white acrylic paint, creating an almost pure white light in the finished painting.