An evolving work – A space of my own.
“Argue for your limitations, and they’re yours.”
– Richard Bach, Illusions
Being back. Back at it. Back in it.
The idea for this work sort of exploded into existence as an emotional response to re-entering NSCAD studios for in-person classes after a year of remote learning/pandemic life. From its inception, It presented itself as a process, both in formal and conceptual terms. It has gone through several stages, and perhaps will continue to do so.
It began with a pose, chosen by feel. At ease, crossed legs, leaning back, slight weariness or tension in the shoulders, palms planted firmly, and looking up — out. That moment just before you take a breath. This paused gesture was my starting point. The work that developed from this I consider to be that breath.
The figure, created with direct reference to my own body, is not so much a self portrait as it is a self reflection. It is sculptural in the traditional sense of a three dimensional form, but also employs sensibilities related to drawing (contour, indication of volume, aspects left out/simply implied).
The screens make direct reference to the studio space, the place that facilitated the work’s production. The traced shadows multiply, distort, and flatten the sculptural form, as well as other elements/structures involved in the process of Its making. These controlled, decisive compositions stand as self projections into that space.
At first, I tried lighting the figure/screens from multiple angles in such a way that the work would expand into the surrounding environment, the intention being that shadows would be cast against the walls, floor and ceiling. This was an attempt to integrate my bodily presence and my own smaller studio area with the larger environment of the shared studio space. This was rather unsuccessful, largely due to haste and limitations in material choice. The vapor barrier used to create the screens acted more as a light diffuser than I expected, and really the whole thing was just not quite working. At the time, it was quite distressing. All this flurry of activity, excitement and inspiration amounting to what felt like a failure.
After the initial presentation/class critique, of course, I needed to put these things somewhere. I arranged the screens to surround and contain my studio space. As the semester progressed, their purpose and meaning to me grew, and somewhat dramatically altered. Taken out of their previous role as an art installation or autonomous art objects, and given a more personal (and less dramatic) lease on life, I felt I had found their actual purpose. They facilitate and provide personal space, and allow me to work within a space all my own. Their translucent quality that created the effect of light diffusion became a positive one, offering me privacy while not shuttering me into a darkened space.
Since then, that is how they’ve been “shown”. In each subsequent studio space I have set them in place, each time in a slightly different arrangement depending on the space I am provided.
The original figure (the steel sculpture) remains as a standalone artwork. More photos of that work can be found here: