Here is a photograph of the last A Theory of Progress sculpture. It was made so that it could be presented in 3 different positions.
Category Archives: Sculpture
I finished the last sculpture in the Pleasure of Deceit series and then photographed all of them. I built this one last because it was the hardest to build since it had so many angles to cut and I was worried that it couldn’t be done. In order to make it more stable I put an extra piece on the back which can be seen in the second photograph. I also decided to paint this one with the same green gouache that I had used for the painting because I was a little tired of the gray paint combinations I had used for the other sculptures and wanted something different; this unfortunately creates a problem in presenting them as a series because one will be obviously different but I decided that I didn’t care in the end.
Here are all 4 sculptures photographed front and back to show both how they are viewed optimally and their construction. The front photograph of each of all of the sculptures have also been manipulated to create straighter vertical lines.
I finished the small scale sculpture The Visible and Invisible which was based on a gouache painting that I did earlier this year that deals with optical illusions. Like Valis and Tone Float before it, I painted the sides different shades of gray from Golden #5 to Golden #2. I used Golden #6 on the outer edges, thinking that if I ever exhibit the series I could put them on a surface painted with the same shade of grey thus making the edges invisible. The photo that I took shows the piece on my dining room table and it’s easy to see how horribly I painted it. I find that I’ve become less interested in pristine surfaces and was looking for something that was different from the series A Theory of Forms and Ideas in which the sculptures have a smooth finish to them. In the final photo the surface will most likely look less textured because the diffused light will eliminate the surfaces uneven shadows.
Last but not least is The Pleasure of Deceit.
Here are 2 small scale sculptures that I finished a couple of weeks ago. The top one is a sculptural version of Tone Float and the bottom one is a sculptural version of Valis. Both were made using the negative perspective of the image as a point of reference. I was going to spray paint them all black like Opposition and Sister Squares are Reconciled and A Theory of Forms and Ideas but decided that the negative space and the reflection of light on the surface created a bland difference between plains and also visually distorted the inner corners, making them lighter. This was the same problem that I had with Opposition and Sister Squares are Reconciled but I was originally hoping to end up with distinctly different shading on the sides of the final image like A Theory of Forms and Ideas. The difference is in how light reflects off of the surfaces and I have a feeling that the light becomes trapped in the negative space, creating dark corners while at the same time reflecting off of the plain that makes up the corner, creating a lighter plain that then makes the space around it look even darker. To combat this I decided to paint the surfaces different shades of gray, making what I thought would be the side with the most light the lightest shade and the side most likely to be in the shadow the darkest gray. I experimented with doing this the opposite way but didn’t like the way it looked. Another problem was the sides of the 1/8″ basswood which I decided to paint a similar shade as the gray paper that I use to photograph on, hoping that the sides would somewhat fade into the background. The edges were painted with Golden #6 and the sculptures were painted with #5, #4, #3.5 and #2 and then coated with Golden UVLS Matte spray varnish.
I finally finished Useless Machine ll which uses 3 rings instead of Useless Machine which only uses one. It took a while to finish because I was having problems gluing the middle ring together. I originally had used a larger ring that I cut a section out of but it kept springing apart after gluing and clamping so I decided to use a smaller ring that I then added a section to; this was an easier method but created a slight flat spot. The rings also spent a lot of time in the bathroom with clamps on them so that the steam from the shower would shape them properly.
Over Christmas break I found some wooden embroidery frames that I thought I could use for the original idea for the Useless Machine sculpture. I had initially wanted 3 circles but thought that they would be impossible to make using the bent wood method that I was using at the time so I settled on having only one circle. I figured that with these wooden frames I could use 2 of the pre-existing circles as they were and make the third circle, the middle one, by splicing in an extra piece. Here’s a photo of the inner and outer circle painted and the middle one glued with a first coat of wood filler on it. Tomorrow I’ll sand it, wood fill it again, and then paint it.
Here is what I wrote for the show at Way Out Gallery.
- 1. of or designating a verb tense or form indicating that the action or state expressed by the verb will be completed by or extended up to a time in the future.
- the future perfect tense
- a form in this sense
These works were gleaned from two separate but related projects that I’ve been working on for the past 8 years: Minimalism Elite, which re-imagines the past, and Future Living Projects, which imagines the future. They are similar aesthetically but differ in context. Minimalism Elite began as a collection of work that looked for inspiration from the past, at a short period of time after the prevailing trends of Modernism but before the post-capitalist strategies of conceptualist art, driven by collectors eager to consume and invest in a new growing corporate art market. Future Living Projects started as an exploration of art that existed somewhere between design and architecture, a theoretical construct to organize potential possibilities for both a utopian and dystopian future.
The sculpture series A Theory of Forms and Ideas takes its name from Plato’s concept of idealized form which postulates the existence of a “reality” inhabited by the ideal or archetypal form of all things and concepts. The sculptures posit themselves as anti-monuments, an articulated set of organized possibilities that inherently create an awareness of scale that shifts the viewer’s relationship away from traditional, monumentalized work, toward a position of enhanced intimacy. Their form is perceived in one instantaneous and inseparable way as mere simple objects concealing the planning and craft needed to complete the final product.
The painting The Pleasure of Deceit offers a mental construction of an insidious fantasy, a projected form that intuits the cynicism of human nature while Journey Into the Realm of Reason, Burning From the Inside and From Safety To Where…? expose the ambiguity of space–between knowledge and fiction and disorder and the Cartesian grid–distorted by unending vanishing landscapes. Perspective is used as a marker of spatial infinity, a visual reminder of the simultaneous existence of both a theoretical probability and physical impossibility, the antinomic dialectic between an optical glitch and mathematical certainty.
The Architect’s Tomb functions somewhere between sculpture and furniture and hints at the possibility of an intrinsically temporal dimension, a space that is internal and external in which nothingness eternally asserts itself as a permanent unknown. Light becomes a hypothesis of suspended physical transformation where mass and energy collapse, imposing a new, more solid and immanent objectuality, an entombed immobility of a future that is both present and past.
Yesterday I installed at a gallery up in Rensselaerville called Way Out Gallery that will be showing from September 27th to October 12th. The curators came to see my studio about 8 months ago and they liked the A Theory of Forms and Ideas Small Scale Sculptures and the gouache paintings and some of the other minimal work that I had been working on so I decided to center the show exclusively on a minimalist aesthetic, combining work from both Future Living Projects and Minimalism Elite. I knew right away that I wanted to show The Architect’s Tomb, Journey Into the Realm of Reason and From Safety To Where…? since I had never shown them before and was excited for the opportunity to exhibit them together. I decided that I wanted to remake Burning From the Inside but make it the same size as From Safety To Where…? and using the same gouache and acrylic latex technique. I destroyed the first Burning From the Inside when I moved from my studio in Brooklyn because of dark spots that showed up after I varnished it which for me ruined the flatness of the surface. I also wasn’t happy with the hard edges or the plastic feeling that you get from acrylics.
I decided also to make another new painting for the back wall that is approximately 3’x4′ called The Pleasure of Deceit. The image comes from a section of one of the isometric perspective pen drawings from A Theory of Forms and Ideas series. I was originally interested in making a painting that used the same distortion of optical perspective as the Opposition and Sister Squares Are Reconciled Pen and Ink Drawings but settled on an image that, although I thought only partly created the illusion I was looking for, was nonetheless more interesting. I was originally going to make it black and white so that the only color in the show would be Journey Into the Realm of Reason but I decided that wanted it to have a specific color combination and to sacrifice the original concept for the show in favor of making a better and more interesting painting. I actually haven’t finished the painting yet and I plan on finishing it and installing it right before the opening.
I’ve been working on some statements for each piece and I’m calling the show Future Perfect which means “of or designating a verb tense or form indicating that the action or state expressed by the verb will be completed by or extended up to a time in the future.” I’ve been having a difficult time creating a context for putting Minimalism Elite and Future Living Project’s together so I think that it will be easier to just say that they’re from 2 separate but aesthetically related projects. Burning from the Inside and From Safety To Where…? actually exist in both projects.
Below are some photos of the show at the end of the installation. I framed all of the A Theory of Forms and Ideas Gouache Paintings individually and installed them so that 16 were on one wall and 8 were on the other. Ten of the A Theory of Forms and Ideas Small Scale Sculptures were installed in the middle of the gallery on 3 pedestals. I also decided early on to not install anything above The Architect’s Tomb to give it space and the curators snuck in one panel from the ICB series which I brought as an alternate for one of the walls. It turns out that it yellowed and the blue pen has started to fade but we hung it up anyway. At the bottom is a computer simulation of what The Pleasure of Deceit will look like.
Here’s a small sculpture that I made last week called Elevator Pitch. An elevator pitch is a 30 second short summary of who you are and what you do that you’re supposed to be able to rattle off to someone at a moments notice in order to impress and elicit interest. The title actually comes from a misunderstanding; I heard a friend mention it in a podcast and for a brief second thought he meant the sound frequency of an elevator. This particular sculpture is a 4″x4″ piece of balsa wood that I painted with Future Living Project white. I painted the underside a bright orange and elevated it with a small spacer to create the illusion of a glowing light underneath. It’s actually hard to see and I originally wanted the space underneath to be smaller but the effect didn’t work so I raised it a little bit. This particular image has been altered to enhance the orange glow. I did this by isolating the shadow underneath, shifting it’s color to orange, saturating it and then adding it back into the original image. I usually photograph my sculptures on a grey backdrop but for this one I had to use white paper in order to come anywhere close to achieving an orange glow.
Here’s a small sculpture that I made at the beginning of February called Useless Machine. I made it out of 1/8″ balsa wood by first cutting two 1/4″x 5″ strips and spray soaking them with Windex which has ammonia in it and breaks down the cell walls for easy bending. After repeatedly bending them I clamped them to a bottle and let them dry overnight. In the morning I unclamped them and glued the two sides together. After it finished drying I sanded it, wood-filled it and sanded it again before painting it.
“They are useless because unlike other machines they do not produce goods for material consumption, they do not eliminate labour, nor do they increase capital.”
The design for the sculpture comes from Dieter Rams‘ design for a record platter cover. I originally wanted 3 rings but, after doing some experiments, found that it would be impossible to get them to look the way that I want them to.