Look Through Box (Art history keeps copying me) (2012)
This piece is rife with self-reference.
Materials: Plywood, enamel/latex paints, Quote piece, photographs, LEDs, extension cord
Stop Cart (2012)
Simply put, I built this cart to go so that I could stop it with an oil painting. The brake pads are made from one rolled canvas cut in half and the cart’s useful life span is limited by the wear on those pads.
Divided Boxes (2012)
I took three notebooks, one per box, filled each page with an ink drawing and did not review or edit the images once completed. I built three simple plywood boxes, each with two separate, vertical spaces and a slot for access to each side. The boxes were permanently closed and the spaces were sealed.
Each box represents a different, two option question and contains 100 drawings apiece. I went through each notebook, looked at the drawings for the first time since sketching and judged them according to the assigned criteria. Each drawing was then folded and inserted into the correct slot. I tallied the results and wrote them on the bottom of the pieces.
Good 50, Bad 50 (cherry)
Keep 54, Toss 46 (red chestnut)
Love 49, Hate 51 (dark walnut)
Given the rest of my work, this piece is fairly self-explanatory. One (36x36”) oil painting removed from the stretcher bars, attached to a custom box frame and covered with for sale signs. The name of the first buyer of this piece will be written in one of the white owner boxes and if they are willing, also the price. It would be interesting to see if other names and prices would need to added as the painting changed hands and values.
Instead of displaying another notebook or creating a structure to conceal a whole book again, I decided to choose a few pages from one. As with most personal writings, each entry represented a different time period and frame of mind, so revisiting the material in this way was more uncomfortable than using a closed journal. I chose pages that were important or significant to my progress at the time.
I sandwiched one page per module and nailed it shut. The folded paper caused a small gap to occur between the blocks of wood so that upon closer inspection, the viewer would see the outline of the page inside. I assembled the pieces first and applied the stain, paint and polyurethane second, to further accentuate the crack.
The blue, yellow and white modules contain an original page each, while the purple module acts as a table of contents with the page numbers documented on its paper inside.
Thread Paintings (2012)
This series was the second branch of the failed food processor painting, being done alongside the 10 ft. Watercolors. If linen was indeed too sturdy to be shredded mechanically with my capabilities, I could certainly shred it by hand. So, I painted an oil canvas and pulled it apart, strand by strand. The weave I was using was fairly loose and I eventually worked out a technique where I could dismantle it easily enough. But the properties of the weave only allowed one strand at a time - even two threads would cause binding.
Once the painting was shredded, I took the threads and tied them end to end. Then I wound them onto the spools and arranged them inside the kits, as if there never were any paintings to begin with.
10 ft. Watercolors (2012)
This series came from a desire to shred a painting with a food processor. Primed canvas, however is extremely tough and that idea didn’t pan out at all. I still wanted to reduce a painting to pulp, so the next attempt was with watercolor paper. That also proved to be too thick for the processor blades to handle, even after soaking it for a week, so the pulp idea was abandoned.
The next obvious step was a paper shredder. I started painting sheets of watercolors, but I don’t particularly like the medium, so I needed to do more than just shred them. I found braided nylon tubing in 10 foot lengths and started stuffing them with the paper shreds. Despite the finished product’s visual predictability, it’s actually a long, tedious process to complete. I discovered that the front and back of each page had to be fully painted or the tube would have too much white. It took about 1.6 (11x14) pages per foot of tube and the density of the paper actually had a noticeable effect on the linear footage achieved. In order to avoid jamming, small hand-rolled wads of paper had to be forced into place with a pushrod. And because of the tube’s length, the paper had to be inserted from both ends to reach the middle. The overall result, however is extremely benign, especially when left rolled like a common hose.
Noodle Doodles (2012)
After working for so many months without showing an image, it became increasingly difficult to leave a drawing simply as a drawing. A sketch did not feel complete until it was stuffed into an appropriate container. The Noodle Doodles use simple latex tubing to conceal a single page each. The surface of the tubing is very tacky and forcing a rolled piece of paper inside proved challenging. However, this friction also acts as the locking mechanism for these pieces and the corks are merely for visual confirmation. A single brass nail pins the tubes to the wall and the rolled papers actually provide structure and shape in the otherwise floppy latex.
The Windsor (2012)
Tubes started showing up in my work in early 2012 for a number of reasons. They provided yet another place to stick art. They have structure. They can bend and hold shape. They come in all sorts of finishes. And they’re self-explanatory. No one questions why a tube exists. It must hold or do something.
The Windsor was one of the first tube pieces to stop using fasteners as the closure mechanism. This piece consists of one small oil painting stuffed into a flexible discharge pipe. A small cuff of the pipe was positioned over the seam to lock it into place.
Alongside the painting explorations, I started going through my other materials, namely notebooks and sketchpads. I was interested in the embodied information inside these compact containers. Some of the books were filled with drawings, others were mainly ideas and philosophy.
There were several approaches to concealing the personal information. I took techniques learned from the canvas pieces and applied them to the new material. Drilling through paper, however, is more difficult than it sounds. The thin paper wants to rip and tear, and also mats into tight wads from the force of the drill bits.
This left the pages disfigured, but not ruined, so there was a level of exposure not present in the rolled canvases. My private ideas and sketches are placed in easily reachable displays, with varying degrees of controls placed around them. Some could be dismantled quickly to see the contents. Others, like the Notebookbox would take a complete destruction of the art object to get to the content inside.
When an oil painting is taken off its support and folded while wet, it ceases to be a one sided painting. The backside of the linen gets paint rubs and the front image loses it visual integrity. If the painting is left to dry while rolled, the paint film is damaged and possibly already cracked. For this piece, I combined that process with a glossy magazine shell for protection and a linchpin to hold it all together. The textural dissonance between the two surfaces and the weight from the linchpin creates an unusual hand feel combined with the visual commonness of a rolled magazine.
Ball was worked into place while the paint was still a bit wet and I intended to expose the color from the outset. Rolled paintings are fine, but there is only so much that can be expressed with the backside of primed linen. I had tried to expose images before this piece, but the results were always too decorative. So I decided to use color blocking instead, to render a painting that could be partially shown without telling a story or giving the eye too many distractions.
Every canvas has a predetermined shape, depending on its original features and the material itself. The folds occur fairly naturally and unless forced, result in an object that is tailored to the painting’s intent. For this piece, the bookcase was raided for a pair of old French books whose covers had the same smooth luxuriousness as the folded linen. It feels surprisingly normal to hold, thanks in part to the familiar texture and feel of bound schoolbooks, and the painting sits open on top, to be leafed through like pages.
Roll Cart (2012)
This piece went further than Pipe Cart in terms of the role of the painting. It wasn’t structural, it was functional. Roll Cart was originally built to sweep the floor and it worked well. The oil painting would catch all the dirt and dust as it scraped along the floor and the linen took on a great dinginess. The dragging sound was pleasing, the handle allowed a vacuum-like sweeping motion and although the painting was being “destroyed”, the net effect was still positive. That, however wasn’t good enough, so I decided to take it on the road. We were able to hit a top speed of 25mph and travelled for about a mile. More importantly, Roll Cart handled like a dream.
Pipe Cart (2011)
This was the first piece to move beyond simple clamping and its construction greatly shaped my process moving forward. Following the decisions made with the Oil Painting Plus pieces, I gutted my painting back stock, removing unwanted paintings from their stretcher bars to harvest material for new work. Pipe Cart started with three 36x48” Black Line paintings, the original three in fact, and two bed rails. I knew from the OP+ pieces that primed and painted canvas is heavy, stiff and difficult to manipulate, but that also meant that they could be used as supporting members due to their material strength. If you look closely, you will notice that the canvases are actually the structural core of the piece, with support screws running through them both vertically and horizontally. Conversely, the frame is working as a clamp against the canvases to keep them aligned. Aside from some rubber washers, the only visual flourish added is the pipe, which acts as an actual black line to help the eye move over and around the cart.