Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reception for Sheets, Planes and Pulp

Nice turn out for at the reception for the Sheets, Planes and Pulp.

Margaret Hawkins, the juror, focused on the immediacy, fragility, and mark making of paper as drawing points for the medium. I see what she means. Paper tends to want to be and to feel very hands on. I found sculptural aspects compelling: one artist made a sculpture that looked and felt like a smooth, shiny stone; another artist made transluscent cocoon like forms.

As for my piece and some more thoughts on reassembly, sadly, a couple elements did not want to hold to the Center's wall (the wall was more textured than the original installation wall), preferring the floor area. I did not mind the dropped elements, but was bothered by the remnants of tape, like stains on the piece, left behind on the wall. I reset the couple winged elements that slipped, substituted winged elements for the book pages after deciding the book pages might be too heavy to cling, and set the book pieces as emerging from the swarm. The arrangement, even with these tweaks, works conceptually and visually. Of course, differences are only apparent to me. Not even those who had seen the piece previously installed seemed to realize the differences -- an interesting footnote perhaps on what people may or may not retain from viewing a piece of art.

One other observation: I'm not sure the swarm aspect hit viewers as immediately this time around.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Installation: More thoughts on Ponder

It just struck me that I had become used to looking at the picture of Ponder, mostly a small version of the on my computer screen, and thinking of the picture/documentation -- since that's what remained from the original installation -- and less about remembering the impression of the installed piece itself, a big difference in scale. Seeing the piece reassembled, even disoriented, emphasizes scale difference. Whether it's a loss, a gain, or simply different I imagine is an individual impression viewer to viewer. For me, simply different.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Installation Day: Ponder

Lots was unexpected when I arrived at the Art Center to install Ponder today.

The Center assigned me a corner (thankfully) but one side was very short -- a little less than 2 feet -- far too short for the spatial illusion to work. They assumed that the elements were going to be suspended; but of course, that's the illusion! The Center did shift a painting several inches, giving me a little more room to work with, but I had to flip the orientation of Ponder so that the swarm was going in the other direction, and shorten part of the paths on one wall (they were equal in the original installation), all of which impacts the spatial illusion. 5 hours later, instead of the expected hour or so, the piece was up and my head hurt.

I had a headache while flipping the piece -- very disorienting it turns out -- as I am used to the right to left flow and had trouble wrapping my head and eyes around a left to right flow while also trying to insure the piece looked enough like the original image that the juror had viewed to select the work for the show. Parts did not readily flip either. The hand has images on one side so it cannot simply be turned over... alas more disorientation as it is now an unnaturally facing hand like someone twisted the arm 180 degrees at a joint. The winged elements suffer from the same problem, though having these face the wrong direction looks less apparently off. I could not simply flip the floor element either, as the drawings on it and the cut out hand are oriented from one direction; so these too are a bit disorienting in the reassembly. I also had to assemble the piece in sections, as I did not have the ladder, which was in use by others, at all times; so there was less room for free form color balance/weighting during assembly. This, the limited time and the disorientation from flipping the piece forced me to lessen focus on color balance ... getting the paths to work spatially was more important. They do work. Thank god. So the essense of the piece is very much the same. Perhaps the essense is all reassembly in an altered context can achieve.

The white wall, verses the greenish wall of the original, is much starker. The absense of colored lights (I could not find low enough watts for the lighting system) changes the piece as well by taking away one aspect of connection between elements. On the other hand, the colored lights are less integral -- before they offset the darkness of the green wall. I was able to get some colored shadows to cast from brighter pigment in some of the elements, strategically placed for highlight effect. That works as nice points of emphasis with in the paths. The result of these color/lighting differences, I think, is a greater emphasis on the paths, a less blended effect. Starker. Different.

What did I find out: One has to rethink assembly while reassembling; it can NEVER be the same piece but essense carries over through differences.

I'll post an image when I have one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Installation: A Second Physical Life for Ponder

"Ponder" will be reassembled in Evanston Art Center's exhibition, "Sheets, Planes & Pulp: Works on (and of) Paper" this month. This opportunity to begin the dialogue from installation to documentation to reinstallation necessitated two additional pieces of documentation -- a sheet of instructions for installation and developing a path diagram.

Writing the instructions and drawing the after the fact path diagram were at best translations of the work because the piece was originally developed loosely through in the moment interaction with the pieces, my scissors, my senses and thoughts, and the space, rather than constructed according to a series of rules. As it turns out, the instructions and diagram won't be needed: I'll have the opportunity to do the installation at the Art Center.

Question of retention, augmentation, and accepting that the piece will differ no matter what? When I went back to collate the elements of the piece, I was reminded of the damage that some of the fragile newspaper winged elements and one book page horse element suffered while removing the original piece during deinstallation. I produced additional versions of the winged elements, though these probably won't be needed this time around, and will include the damaged pieces among the floor pile to retain a place for them in the piece. I repaired the damaged horse element.

The piece also may do without the colored lights in this reassembly unless on very short notice, I can find bulbs or filters compatible with the Art Center's lighting system.