The Eye Travels Along the Paths Cut Out (Blue-Orange)


What a fun experience it was to collaborate with Nicholas Strobelt a couple weeks ago at Strange Coupling– an annual collaborative project between University of Washington seniors and graduate students with local working artists. Nick is a senior in Photomedia, with boundless energy and smarts. He’s been making photos like this (these are from a series called Self-Tracing):

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I love how his photos are both austere and playful, messing with perception and the thin line between flatness and a sense of depth. I especially enjoy his photos where the devices are laid bare (say, the threading at the end of the mop handle used as a leg of a trapezoid and an imagined triangle.) My current obsession, though it has been rolling out in folded paper, drawing and painting, has been geometry. For years, I’ve been using it, and now my mind is trained on it as a subject for more focused contemplation. I’ve been looking at and reading and thinking about the ways that geometry has been a philosophical and even theological/spiritual tool for centuries. Nick and I enfolded our mutual interest in geometry, and my current teaching in color theory, to make an interactive stage of slowly shifting color fields. People were invited to come aboard and watch their shadows shift from teal to magenta, from green to gray to white. One of my favorite sections of the piece was the “box of light” where we positioned a pedestal on a cinder block to catch in its void a shifting color field abstraction. It was an ideal abstraction until you moved a little closer and the shadows of flyaway hairs or the crescent of your ear would invade. To me, it became a picture of our modernist ideas of perfection being dirtied up by the less-than-ideal figures of life lived in real spaces. And, of course, I find those less-than-ideal parts the most compelling, when it comes down to it.


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Flowering Fossil Bed


The name of the show “The Ether and the Mantle,” my last solo show at G.Gibson Gallery, was an imagined love affair between elements of the air and elements of the earth, a picture of the magnetism and wooing and coupling that has everything and nothing to do with human lovemaking. Here is my short statement from the show:

The work in “The Ether and the Mantle” can be read as a series of love poems between elements in the earth and those in the air. The timely meetings of these elements on Earth is a crucial part of the story of our genesis as living creatures. Inspired by recent work with a biochemist, and in the spirit of previous bodies of work, in which I have anthropomorphized mountains, water, rocks and air, I have both seriously and playfully engaged with the tumultuous history of life on a chemical/geological level. It is a story of catastrophe and exchange, morphing structures and unlocking of elements in their time, repulsion, attraction and harmony.


Flowering Fossil Bed (Gala Bent 2013)


This piece above, “Flowering Fossil Bed,” was the largest piece in the show, and I thought of it as a sort of honeymoon bed. Rocks bloom and flowers crystallize. Hope and future-love hold tenuous sway. Do you know the feeling of weddings? Joy and melancholy and hope and small talk. Awkward dancing, public cake shoving, lights and flowers and aisles and old friendships. Heartbreak and mourning and laughter and boredom. The earth is so full of all of it.

(detail of Flowering Fossil Bed– Gala Bent 2013)