Thursday, June 22, 2006

Safety in Numbers

Safety in Numbers, Steel Wool, Approx. 10' Hx 8.5' Wx 4"D

Latest piece in a show titled New Lines: Drawn, Stitched, and Sculpted that just opened this Tuesday. The Opening is next Thursday at Spur Projects near San Francisco, CA.

Detail shot (click to enlarge)

Safety in Numbers is the latest installment in my Steel Wool Drawing series, Herd Mentality. Exploring the concept of Illusion, both as a visual and a mental construct, the series has grown into one of the main focuses of my artistic exploration. Everyone delights in magic, but no one likes to be fooled…Or do we? Do we spend as much time guarding against the truth slipping in, setting up barriers to protect ourselves from what are, as often as not, unpleasant truths? Playful yet ominous, I hope to reflect on the precarious balance that can be found between truth and fiction, conviction and delusion, strength and fragility.

In my process, I de-construct scouring pads, common household objects, and re-construct them as sheep, highly symbolic, even totemic animals, that were once more common in everyday life in many parts of the world than are the cleaning supplies under your kitchen sink. Illusionistic space is visual metaphor. It is the space where our mental gymnastics, pratfalls, and re-imaginings take place. Steel wool that might otherwise be taken for granted is animated here, imbued with life that is always metaphorically present in the inanimate world. In so doing, I hope to investigate the mental gap between easy assumptions or following blindly (socially, politically, economically) and stealthily, crossing a tightrope without doubt that, though gravity is real, determination can build a bridge to a truer understanding. And that understanding insists that metaphor is a tool rather than a deception.


Blogger Ashes77 said...

Excellent excellent. I think the added element of the rope really adds a meaningful dimension to the whole piece.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

Thanks! Floating sheep had to do something constructive at some point. Still working it out.

8:02 AM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

Looks good Reb - the rope is working wonders

9:22 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

Yeah, it needed a focus. oh yeah...the MB interview was on, the San Francisco NPR station, morning show with Michael Krasny, but I don't know if it's been podcasted. I was listening to it in the car and told carla to look it up online to listen along. Gotta love the internet.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Art Powerlines said...

Ditto the rope. Nice, with the curve upwards, oh how I can feel that tension!! Congrats on the show and great work.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

My crank has been turned. (I was fortunate enough to see an early sketch of this and I had my doubts. I hadn't realized that it was a corner piece. Now I get it.)

I also appreciate that your materials are connected to your intended content. There is no seperation of mind and body here. I try too often to force concepts on materials that I am comfortable with (painting and drawing) even though I know that the best art is informed by the tools. The medium enhances the message.

Do you have any close up shots of how the steel wool hangs on the pins?

12:26 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

I uploaded a detail shot…but unsure if it reads 3D.

Thanks again LaRose for the imput during the sketch stage.

re: "materials that I am comfortable with (painting and drawing)" This installation is still considered drawing (same skills set, in my book) the only thing different is the use of steel wool in lieu of pencil/charcoal as material. Same principles of drawing are utilized.

Like Marshall McLuhan ....the medium IS the message. Steel Wool is such a great oxymoron. Strong and Soft all at once.

Coomeraswamy has a good tidbit related to LaRose's commment about mind and body meld. I touched on the topic in my "Cast(e) System" post about form vs. contour. (i.e. if the form is the mental thought/idea and the contour/shape is the physical manifestation of the thought... it's a matter of finding the right material to match your thought/idea). If that makes sense? It's mainly thinking about the implications of the materials you choose to use. Sometimes the material dictates what I want to say, other times the concept is driving. No real science with me. Just experimenting. (read: a lot of mixmatched nothings most of the time.)

11:32 PM  

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