....................sketched, built, carved, drawn-on, dis-assembled, rebuilt, painted, tethered, clamped, and tinkered-upon (memory-inducing?) (dead?) garage space-craft vessel forms. Perhaps they are funny ruminations on the idea of an ark. Maybe they are beautiful. Always they are more unexpected in their later states than they were in the initial plan.
Drawing + Idea Generation
The activity of drawing first begins with small doodles. I consistently, and perhaps obsessively, sketch abstract shapes, dead little birdies, and designs for oddball boat-like containers with functional-looking appendages. Sometimes these drawings evolve into finished works, and other times they merely serve to document an idea. Sketches pervasively accumulate in my office, at home, and in the studio, and inform, but don't necessarily dictate, my making. A vocabulary of drawn symbols has also developed, and these find their way onto the gallery walls for site-specific drawings or onto the surfaces of the sculptures and paintings.
Clamping pieces of wood together impermanently, I am able to look at the overall composition and then decide on changes. I might shorten boards or stack together a variety of linear parts to three-dimensionally draw out objects. This process is similar to sketching, and like a worked-over, much erased sketch, the completed sculptures have linear elements that vary in intensity, gesture, and movement. I consider each piece of material to be a small component to the whole, like marks making up a drawing.
These sculptures are outgrowths of my Renovated Flightless Devices series and play off the forms and function of tools, toys, boats, and, perhaps, military equipment. The works are somewhat vessel-oriented and have layers of drawing and painting that contribute to the building of a vague "history". The objects take a winding path to completion, evolving from continuously redrawn sketches and traveling through many transformations before being cut apart, reassembled, and reworked. Through this method of construction and reconstruction, I am able to intuitively build and then, at a later time, make necessary changes. Many of the recently completed things pictured here evolved for nearly a decade.
Curious inspection and patient observation reveal previously unseen drawings and room-like interiors, many with small chairs and ladders “left over” from previous inhabitants. These things have handles, openings, drawn symbols, and moveable parts, but like the mystery of a ritual object from a broken-down culture, the physical or metaphorical functions are left to the imagination. In an increasingly commercialized, displaced society, I’m attempting to build slow, somewhat clumsy, objects that reveal a layered history.
Raft for __________ (with Infected System Drawing) is the most recent permutation of a work that has been slowly transforming for eleven years and continues my experimentation with connecting the sculptures to wall drawings. My hope is that viewers to fill in the blank and finish the narrative for themselves. Who inhabited this craft and from what were they fleeing?
The acrylic and mixed media on wood drawings/ paintings evolve from my abundant collections of sketched-on scraps of paper and wood. Created through the accumulation of many marks and layers of paint, they are often glued together, sawed into smaller compositions, cut apart, reoriented, sanded, scraped, and repainted. It is often difficult to know exactly when a work is complete, but I try to make each painting evolve in a different way than the one that came before it by finding the right balance between clarity and disintegration.
Through this balance of process, form, and material, I want each work to exhibit a kind of awkward familiarity. These blobby diagrams suggest daily processes (and hint at a few possible narratives) and are informed by such non-art drawings as carved initials in trees, phone conversation doodles, and the walls of a well-lived-in house. This daily record of mark making fascinates me, for it is an indication of the overwhelming need to leave a visible record of our existence.
Formed with Brandon C. Smith and now in our ninth year of engaging in collaborative projects, SmithTownsendCollaborative presents view of the big nothing from an abandoned perch atop pink meat pod island (with Godbird watching). As we've done before, we've overlapped our visual languages to try to create something that neither one of us would make on our own. And this work picks up on some of the narratives our past projects have suggested while attempting to thoughtfully contribute to the exhibition's theme put forth by LAL guest curator Georgia Henkel.
The wall-drawn component connects via a long hinged wooden "chain" to a rather largish pinkish meaty-looking pod of Brandon's creation. On top of the pod is a lonely little remnant of a brick house with an empty chair in it. The chair views the big empty blob on the wall as Godbird (the strange-looking painted bird sculpture) watches from his high perch on the wall. There are some other components, too that add to the narrative possibilities. So, not love of emptiness or fear of emptiness so much as just normal, kinda dumb, lonely-human-on-a-rock-in-a-big-void kinda emptiness.
Check out smithtownsendcollaborative.blogspot.com for more.