Thursday, March 17, 2011

Studio visit

Rena visited my studio today and we had a talk about the direction of my thesis. She really liked Drawn, and seemed to be interested in the potential of Winding (both working titles). She wasn't into the plaster outlets with fragments of real outlets embedded-- while I'm relieved that I'm getting consistently positive feedback about Drawn, I'm running into a very serious problem with my thesis-- everything I'm making is with outlets and plugs, and suggests breathing. I've been planning pieces that use other parts of the space, but Rena made the prudent observation that I'm on a very tight deadline, working against the clock, and that maybe I should narrow my research and focus on what my most successful piece is doing well. But what is my work doing? I'll try to unpack my work in the following paragraphs.


Drawn is characterized by a a single length of black electric cord bounded on either side by banal black plugs attached to opposite walls. The cord slopes towards the ground in a gentle, sensually sagging curve that gradually tapers to a precariously thin gage, then down to a single strand of human hair. While the object itself is quiet and unassuming, its bizarre configuration (a two ended plug) implies a short circuit; a potentially hazardous mistake in electrical wiring that could result in the release of lethal amounts of electricity. There is a beautiful danger

in the simplicity of this piece, yet its strange
unpredictability leaves the audience wondering why such a deadly object exists.

There is a bodily response to the contemplation of this piece that is not present in any of my other work-- this is in part because of the threat of physical danger, but also because Drawn seems to trick the eye-- the cord tapers gradually to a line width that cannot be seen by the human eye from more than a foot away. The viewer is forced to approach the piece in order to satisfy their curiosity.

Drawn integrates into its host environment almost seamlessly; the outlets could easily be part of the gallery walls, and at first glance, it looks almost like an extension cord you could purchase at your local hardware store... almost. Its delicacy draws it back from the industrial, towards the ethereal. Its line quality seductive; the center of the piece wafts gently with the air currents in the room, and despite the implied danger, there is a desire to get close to the piece, to touch it, to understand it through one's senses.

Outlet Repetition

On one wall of the Chandler gallery, there is a patched hole that used to house an outlet. The spackle is rough and rises away from the wall in a slightly swollen mound, recalling a fresh scar or a patch of earth piled on a new grave. The height and shape speak to what formerly occupied the space. Using untreated wall plaster, I have recreated the missing outlet and covered the entire wall in a grid of copies. The 1600 multiples are echoes of a missing piece, part of the space that has been removed and covered. Within the plaster, some copies contain fragments of broken outlet covers, bringing to mind archaeological fragments.

The copies mimic the form of the missing outlet, but their function is stunted; their connection points are cut off, filled in by the same material that is used to make the walls to which they are attached.

Some ideas for thesis show title:

Impeded progress (a definition of short circuit)

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