Sunday, May 02, 2010

Land of Suspended Belief

Land of Suspended Belief: Temple.  2010. acrylic on vinyl.  5 x 9 x 3.5 feet.

I posted a few images of this piece before, but wanted to post some better ones with an explanation of the process.  SOIL was invited to install a very large group show at the Seattle Design Center for 3 months, filling an otherwise empty 11,000 square foot space.  With a bunch of new members (myself included), we filled the space surprisingly easily.  I was excited to show a bunch of smaller plexiglas paintings for the first time, but I had heard that the space might offer some unusual opportunities for installations.  Once I arrived, I saw what was basically a huge empty frame in the middle of one of the larger rooms.  It was perfect for a large multi-layered vinyl painting, similar to the plexiglas ones, but much, much larger.  I had previously done a vinyl painting installation prototype at 2009 KAC REDUX event, and was eager to try it again.  This one would be more contained and viewable from both sides.

After preparing the ceiling and walls with the hardware to keep the vinyl evenly space, I started improvising the painting, one vinyl sheet at a time, painting on the floor.  Obsessed with temple forms and symbols, I built one that descended from its peak, down and out towards the viewer on either side.  The temple is surround by layers of flowers and exotic plants, threatening to eventually over-grow the supposed man-man structure.  The reference to the tower or temple has several meanings for me, mostly relating to ideas of faith, art, spirituality, and practice.  It seemed appropriate then, that I was on my knees for the duration of the painting, building the temple, mark by mark, layer by layer.

I've never made a painting that has two viewable sides.  It was really interesting to be making decisions about the foreground on one side, realizing it was going to become the background on the other.  It's also very satisfying to create illusion without really having to do so.  I can adjust the relative size of marks, color saturation, and value, but the space is actual.  Lighting this piece was definitely a challenge, as you can probably tell from the photos.  Without the proper lights in the right places, the space isn't nearly as effective.  The shininess doesn't bother me though.  I quite like the artificiality of the plastic, and its reference to consumer products.  After all, the SDC is basically a mall.

The show is up through May 28, and you can find more info at the SOIL website here.

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