ICB is a series of work that I made in 2009 that I never wrote about or exhibited. The initial drawings were originally created using a computer that had an old drawings program on it;the lines were randomly drawn across the screen and the computer program, through a preset, would either adhere to the grid or ignore it, creating a random pattern in the end. I experimented with different results and made 4 of these (Untitled #1,#4,#5 and Battleship) which I printed out and saved thinking that I would like to do something with them in the future. One of these initial drawings was the basis for the painting ICB (Battleship) which was made using white acrylic latex and blue pen on canvas. I used joint compound on the surface of the canvas before painting it to create a smooth surface. This turned out to be a mistake because one of my cats walked across it and made crackly footprints on it which destroyed the surface. I made this painting again in 2011 but this time used blue gouache to make the lines and also used 2 different whites for the background. In 2009 I also decided to finish the series so I set out to try and reproduce similar results to what I had done in 2000. This was harder than I thought since computer programs had become more advanced over time. This meant that the computer was less likely to follow the grid so I had to redo many of them several times to get the results that I wanted. After I had 8 of them I decided that I had enough so I reproduced them on paper using a blue felt tip marker. Then I decided that I wanted to make them on panels so I bought eight 16″ wood panels. I sanded each one and used white spray paint to paint them. I used the same blue felt tip markers on these that I used for the other drawings and when I was done sprayed them with UVLS Matte Varnish to keep the sun from fading them.
I never showed this series anywhere. I had 2 of the panels hanging up in my studio and the sunlight faded them so they were destroyed. I gave a couple of them away. I liked the idea of this series and the idea of making art through glitches on a computer even though I forced some of the later results. This was also the first time that I ever made work directly on wood panels and I thought that it was successful for a first try. I was hoping that the final results would be quite and elegant but at the same time I wasn’t sure how abstraction fit in with the rest of my work and I found it difficult to try and promote;I didn’t have any other work that was like it. It eventually found a home with the Future Living Projects.
The title comes from a New Order song on the album Movement. The initials are rumored to mean Ian Curtis Buried but I didn’t know that at the time of making the painting or the drawings. Here are 2 composite shots, one of the drawings on paper and the other of the drawings on panels. Below that is the painting ICB (Battleship) which I plan on destroying since I don’t think that it was very successful as a painting.
Last weekend I participated in a show at Prospect Park in Brooklyn called Our Ocean is a Park: v.3. The show was put together by Ben Knight and also had work by Kiersten Greene in it. For the show I made a sculpture called A Theory of Progress Floor Segment (An Accurate Model for a Cohesive Distributive Communication System) which was made using the same lattice pieces that I was using for A Theory of Progress Table. The sculpture is also part of the same series as A Theory of Progress (An Accurate Model for a Cohesive Distributive Communication System).
The show has many challenges including the need to easily transport the work by foot, the need for the work to be recycled for the next year if need be and therefore non-precious and it needed to be durable and able to hold up in the outdoors under diverse weather climates. I bounced around a few ideas before deciding that I wanted to expand on what I had started with the Theory of Progress series. I started by using pre-cut pieces that I had in the studio and laying out a composition that I thought would be interesting. I stacked 10 of them and shifted them left and right and flipped them until I found something that I liked. I decided it wasn’t big enough and set out to make a right side to it. At this point I switched to making a small balsa wood model of it. I measured out the pieces that I had on the floor and transferred them into miniature. While making the small scale model I decided that for the right side I would make the pieces the same size as the left size except upside down so that the inside angles would be flush. This meant that a piece that was 42 inches would have another piece that was 42 inches right next to it but upside down. I used the model to figure out a color scheme made up of blue, red, yellow, green and orange. The only rules were that the same colors can’t touch and that every 5 slats had to have one of each color in it.
I took a photo of the model and went back to the studio. I cut all of the pieces for the right side and then numbered the back of them starting with 1L at the bottom left and ending with 10R at the top right so I would know what order they were in. I used spray paint to paint all of the wood. When they were done drying I taped each row together on the back. This meant that 1L and 1R were taped together in the middle so in the end I had 10 rows of folded pieces.
I installed the piece by laying the attached rows out on a sidewalk a little off to the side in as flat a spot as I could find. I didn’t think it was necessary to further attach the pieces together since it theoretically wasn’t going to be touched. However, it turned out that the kids at the opening liked to run across them, probably because they were colorful and made noise. It also rained so some of the pieces started to warp a little but I didn’t mind any of this.
Here’s what I wrote about it for the catalogue:
A Theory of Progress asks us if the capitalization and over-abundance of design theory within contemporary art discourse represent a true progression of ideas within aesthetics or merely mimics the inherent evolution of complex systems towards a more efficient model for profiteering. Design is capital and is 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. A Theory of Progress Floor Segment (An Accurate Model for a Cohesive Distributive Communication System) takes a tongue-n-cheek approach to the problems of design theory and offers a pragmatic solution by creating an easily assimilated system for creating colorful and easily consumable art products.
Here’s a photo of what it looked like installed. I used Photoshop to fill in the left side with more vivid color and I also made the green pieces way more green than they were originally. If I was to make this again I think I would make it about 5 times bigger. Also a photo of the small scale model.