Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Rocket's Journey Part 1

   I currently have a sculpture show set up in the gallery space at Atlanta Hot Glass.  It is a series of work that has evolved over the last couple of years as I have meandered along on my Journey.  I really loved those days where my mind could wander freely for hours on end as I watched the landscape change before me. I had finally escaped the prison of my little Philly world – I could really start to feel my place within the world at large.  Perspective.  Perspective gets lost when the blinders are kept on.  When you don't make it out of your hometown.  When you go from work to bar to bed to work to bar to bed. When you keep your world so tight and fight any little change.  The world is a fluid and organic thing of which we are an interactive part.
    I was offered the opportunity  for the show in late July, which gave me approximately two and a half months to produce as much finished work as needed to fill the gallery.  Deadlines can make for good motivation, and set me on a fantastic path for making the best work I have made to date.  All in all there are seven major pieces in the show, and five smaller works.  I would like to write a bit about each one, to give some insight on my thought process.  I have some photos that I will be sharing, please keep in mind the work has not been professionally shot yet.

“The Grass is Always Greener”

It is isn't it?
It's better just over there.
The neighbor's yard is much healthier than mine.
It has to be easier than this
The grass around here is so brown and prickly
Everyone is so sour and grumpy
There has to be a better place.

       The first Rocket was created during my first day of demonstrations as a visiting artist at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, WI in November, 2011.  I have made one in nearly every studio I have been in since.  The first time I thought about making sculpture with them was in Durham, NC, summer of 2012,  where my friend had a square of fake grass that made the perfect landing pad.  “The Grass is Always Greener” was conceived.  The physical manifestation appears quite simple, only a few elements – wood/steel frame (which became a recurring theme in the work for this show), the square of plastic grass, and a glass “Rocket” with its steel tip.
    The grass square is that same one mentioned above, which was actually a remnant of my former life in Philadelphia.  There is some very real personal significance in using that particular piece of material. I do believe that objects contain powerful energy, often that energy becomes one of the reasons an object or material is used in a piece of sculpture.  In this case, introducing an actual element that was present in my life during a time of great change seems appropriate.  When I think of the phrase “The Grass is Always Greener” it brings on feelings of nostalgia, of where I was, where I've been, what I've been through and finally where I am now.  It reminds us to take stock and really examine where were are in life at the current moment.
    The overall gesture really makes me think of a yard dart. The last time I played with a yard dart was a couple of years ago at a childhood friend's house.  He had a small wooden trebuchet he had constructed, we rigged it up to hurl yard darts at pizza box targets.
    I chose to present the work in the very formal frame for a couple of reasons: aesthetically as a reaction to this very manufactured square of plastic grass.  It makes that grass really important, frames it like a 3-D painting.  I was also thinking about a diorama in a museum. Here are a few pics of the piece in the gallery:

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