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Expanded Notions Towards My Work, 2010

My thoughts towards my work and the trajectory I am following have been constantly oscillating from the two-dimensional to three-dimensional. What I have come to recognize is that all these seemingly disparate paths have really been paralleling lines all coming to one pinnacle point. These paralleling lines of knowledge have grown stronger, bolder, and elevated my courage to stem off into my own realm of creativity. My vision is clairvoyant. My physical ability to extract these concepts from the two dimensional into the realm of the third and fourth dimension is now feasible. It is my seminal language, my own line that I am constantly grappling with. Never complacent in my current work I am always refining it into new poignant and provocative tangible art pieces.


I obtained my MFA in classical figurative painting studying the nuances of the human form, the complexity of pictorial space and the manipulative, visual sensuous power that a line possesses. I have known from an early age that the dynamics of three-dimensional thinking is intrinsic to my being. I obtained my B.A. in Architecture thinking that this would be my outlet. The built environment intrigues me, buildings embody the sprit of man, and they define the epochs of time. Buildings reveal mans greatest achievements and conversely mans greatest failures. The built environment delineates how we live, how we flow through space and time.  The actual mechanics and nuances of architecture in its actual practice did not satisfy my overriding desire to express abstract concepts. I needed to express and reflect upon space in an artistic fashion. Extrapolate the latent and obscure semaphores that architecture and the built environment has over humans.


It all came to fruition when I discovered that the tool to my visual vocabulary is steel. From the instant I stepped into the metals room I knew with no reservations that this was the answer. This is a medium that I can manipulate into something more poetic. Metal posses every attribute I had been searching for as an artistic medium. It is a physical and mental tango that takes great patience and fortitude to master. Steel is powerful, bold, brazen, and corrupt like mankind yet paradoxically delicate, fragile, tensile and seductive like a woman. Steel can undulate, draw parallels, juxtapose, overlap and weave into any imaginable form. Steel has the power to encapsulate time with its inevitable rusting nature. It also has the dynamic capability to encapsulate light and color in its forms. Steel is life, it is architecture, and it is art.


I knew that art school would not teach me the true structural mechanical means to really work with steel on a larger level. To use the steel that has built the environment to express the environment. So I went to welding school to immerse myself full time in nothing but welding and fabricating steel. Tulsa Welding School reopened my comprehension of the passion man has towards his craft. To be an erudite welder means that your welds can pass the most finite structural strength x-ray test in the world. Machines are not even adroit enough to weld in places and positions that a highly trained welder can. Welding is the foundation for the built environment and steel is its greatest tool.


I want to focus on what I can derive from steel. How I can use it to evince in the viewer a moment of contemplation about the nature of the built environment. Create pictorial space with it. Use the lucid quality of welds to create the transitions, the soft yoke between ideas. Take the weaving texture of a weld and drawing in and onto steel. Express the pure monumental power a joint is capable of. Use the juxtaposing of rusted steel with stainless steel, enabling me to expand upon the concept of time. There is a plethora of characteristic in metal that I can experiment with to create a large body of work that tackles the human experience of being alive.


I think of my work as an amalgamation of architectural, cultural research, classical figurative painting and sculpture. Everything I do as I stated parallels my training. I research and create mock up models and adumbrate drawings like an architect would. I take these two dimensional idea from drawing, painting, and photography and extrapolate them into the third dimension. These preliminary notions become the catalyst for larger pieces to be fabricated.


I want to fabricate large three-dimensional sculptures that respond to steel and its power in the built environment. The forms that can be derived from looking at space and how through the centuries it has been created using steel. The challenge will be how can I encapsulate space with steel. Make it welcoming, insightful, intriguing and respond to these hierarchal ideas I am trying to conjure up.


Since the Industrial Revolution steel has been on the forefront of the building evolution. It has allowed us to soar to new zeniths, to cantilever across vast voids of space and it has provided the platform for sculpture to break free from the past. Steel allocated for a new generation of sculptors to speak about modernist thought in an innovate fashion. Such giants have used its versatile power in an array of fashions. Bernard Venet uses it to clarify his intellectual thoughts on philosophical matters. Richard Serra uses it express space though manipulating steels fundamental properties. David Smith used steel to express human emotion. Mark Servello uses industrial steel to question viewer’s senses of equilibrium and create poetic junctures.


Now it is time for me to manifest all my ideas into one cohesive body of steel art.


I guess it means a lifetime involvement, thats what it means. It means to follow the direction of work I opened up early on for myself and try to make the most abstract moves within that. To work out of my own work, and to build whatever is necessary so that the work remains open and vital and challenging to myself and hopefully to others who are interested in the direction that I am working in." Richard Serra


“The selection of material determines the aesthetic possibilities and limitations. When working with steel, one accepts technological materialism either directly in terms of assembly or construction, or indirectly as allusion.” Richard Serra



Posted by Virginia T Coleman on 10/18/10 | tags: metal mixed-media conceptual abstract

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