Monday, July 30, 2012

Sculpture and Biophilic Design

I've been reading the book, Biophilic Design, the Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life"  and found this amazing video, Patterned by Nature.

The 90 foot long sculpture uses low resolution patterns to bring a sense of the natural world into the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Read about the sculpture here

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sculpture and Drawing

I'm doing my best to do as little as possible this summer. 
Ironically, it's an all out commitment to heal the last 7 years of chronic pain.  
That includes typing.  So it's time for orphaned and out of sequence posts.

I'm hoping that your summer has rest in it too.
From all the paper cutting I've been doing recently, I'm learning about the power of pattern. 
That knowledge makes it easier to simplify the Solomon Seal border. 

Never be afraid to go back and revise and edit your work. 

Here's the latest iteration.
                          It gives more room for the portrait and still has detail.
The original drawing now looks like a thicket
Here's the cartoon using the Solomon's Seal as a surround for the commissioned portrait. photo by Mark Downing.

Another irony? This pattern never made it to the finished painting.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sculpture and Shadows

photo by David Bales
"All material is nature, 
the mountains, and the streams, and the air, and we, 
are made of light,
which has been spent, 
and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow, 
and the shadow belongs to the light." 

Louis Kahn architect
photo by David Bales
Is the quote by Kahn's is a prayer, an observation, or a design philosophy? 

photo by David Bales

I was delighted to read it. It sums up how I'd like people to understand my new series of paper cuts transformed into large metal screens. The metal is both object and a projecting pattern for shadows that create something constantly changing, ephemeral and magical.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sculpture and Travel

Many people travel to distant lands to see sculpture,
................. some of us come home to make new sculpture about what we've seen.
The Balinese Mermaid by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
Going through my slides, I found my little Balinese mermaid. Wish I had better photos of her...

After visiting Bali, I wanted to create a small sculpture that had some of the magic and mystery of the island. The bust and tail are carved wood, the lily leaf is bondo and mesh, the golden hair ornament is just that.

She is a kinetic bouquet,  part of a series that blended the idea of the sacred, toys and bouquets with interaction.

As you hold her by her by the tail, her hair ornament and the water lily leaf move and tremble with every movement of your own body. It's a balancing act of calmness to hold her still.
More work to surface as I transfer my slides to digital images.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sculpture and drawing

Chinese joss paper is an inexpensive and fun paper to draw on. Silver aluminum foil gets a quick wash that turns the silver to gold and the newsprint to bright orange.
It is used for prayers which makes it an ideal canvas for birthday cards.

Here's the most recent drawing, exploring the endless vine pattern.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sculpture and Upholstery

The worst aspect of artistic blues is the tendency towards "TERMINAL UNIQUENESS".
The focus narrows down to one's own troubles exclusively.

Reupholstering a chair can wake you up. 
This chair as been in R's family for three generations...

Removing layers of fabric, you see how folks made do with not quite enough material and their solutions to that problem.
You see how used (dirty) the material became before it was reupholstered.
You can see how faded the material is by looking at the reverse side. Same for the bottom layer of material.
They were taking care of other things.
They didn't throw it away. With not much money, they made things last.

There was no horse hair padding in this chair, just cotton and straw. Old straw.

Somewhere in the craft of reupholstering an old chair,
there comes an understanding of how others have lived
and struggled..........................................That awareness is a good path out of terminal uniqueness.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sculpture and Upholstery

What do you do when you're between big projects?
Or discouraged with your work?
Or just plain discouraged?

A project that requires precision but not a great deal of thinking helps fight existential blues.
I re-upholster tired chairs.

Reupholstery is exacting, tedious, and demands all my attention. But it isn't rocket science.

(Or ART.)

It's one simple step after another. There may be surprises but there are no big un-answered questions.

This chair belonged to the grandmother of my friend Richard Brand. He selected the material because was similar to what was on the chair when she was alive.
 Still a link to a loved one, his chair is now both old and new.

And those existential blues? They went away somewhere in the process of working.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sculpture and Fireworks

Happy 4th of July
Most people don't think of fireworks as sculpture, but they are.

Someone designed each one to explode in that particular way with that unique set of colors.

And best of all, the big fireworks make you aware of the space and time that they occupy.
What do you experience watching fireworks?

Sculpture and Ennio Marchetto

How do you distill what you are trying to convey in your art 
into the most simple and direct expression?

Ever try to make a paper costume? Or do an imitation of someone?
It's a lot harder than it looks.
Ennio Marchetto, the living paper cartoon, makes it look easy (and funny.)

What makes Marchetto's work more than drag lip synch is the creativity of the costumes and his skill in movement and suggestion. Performers are conjured up with an iconic costume or gesture. Watch his Gene Kelly glide, and Liza Minelli's tortured contortions. His transition from Bollywood to the Supremes is inspired.

His video got me thinking about style and styling.
It's not just what you make, but HOW you think about making and presenting your work.

Ennio Marchetto 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sculpture and Presentation

 Without good presentation sculpture is often dead.
While a good base shows the art well, it is also designed is to protect the art. 

This very quirky Dogon antique wooden puppet suffered from being horizontal.
I offered to make a base for this puppet because I wanted to understand how it was made and used.
When you help restore artwork it feels like you are the second person to really study the art.
Parts of the crest were broken, the tip of the bill was damaged from being dropped. The cord string is hand made and fragile. Also fragile is the lower bill because it is mobil, connected to the head by that cording.

I used a dark brown waxed linnen cord to to stabilize the lower bill. Two knots at upper and lower bill on both sides restrict the movement while allowing enough play to give the idea that the bill was made to move and clatter in a dance ceremony.
The art is much more animated now that it's vertical.

To compliment the hand carved textures of the art, I carved the post and smaller base to match. That texture and hand work also hides the fact that I don't have a chop saw and can't make a crips square cut! (Perfection is vastly over-rated.)

The base is a scrap of ipe wood from a deck project. It's heavy which is good for a base, but its rich color was too vibrant so I spray painted it black so it didn't upstage the art. 

Louise Nevelson was right, wood looks great painted black.