Object as time-based expression
February 9th, 2017
Recently a number of things have begun to influence my thinking as an artist, particularly in the ways that we perceive, or fail to perceive, the passage of time.
I'll be writing more about the compositional ramifications of these revelations as I'm preparing for the performance of my new work for TIGUE in April but now, I've been focused on the physical world.
A couple of months ago, I was at the MoMA and spent a long time in front of a stunning Ad Reinhardt painting when it all dawned on me. The black square I was looking at was made up of 9 squares, and 5 of them were actually slightly red. It was a complex experience, because people would look at it, see a black square, and then move on. This was work that relied on time to be experienced, the eyes had to adjust, your mindset had to adjust, and then you saw the work for what it was.
I've been very interested in the passage of time with my work, and in subtle perceptual shifts in change and similarity. This moment in front of the Reinhardt painting got me seriously contemplating how an object could elicit the same response as my music, the effect of stopping time, of being "outside" of time.
The opportunity came up then to actually show an object, and the ideas for Quadrilateral Starfield Symmetry A:L II began to take shape. The core idea here is to use the same sort of imagery as in my video work to create an object situation where the difference between black and blue verges on imperceptible.
I began to work closely with Malcolm Donaldson at The Arm Letterpress in Brooklyn to develop a method of printing that would come close to achieving this - where the perception of the shape on the page is reliant on the viewer's time and attention to begin to see. My goal with this series of works is to compose an object that has an arc to it similar to my musical compositions, where you're encouraged to slow down in order to look.
The first of those completed objects Quadrilateral Starfield Symmetry A:L II - Homage is now on view at the Matteawan Gallery in Beacon until Sunday. Soon I'll be making versions and editions of work in this series available for sale.