Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A new I-Beam Sculpture

So as many of you know that have been following my work.  i have been working with wooden I-beams for several years. Today i think they turned a corner. Actually i have been anticipating the corner for while now but today it happened. As you can see in the image on the left from ARCO last year the beams have been positioned on the floor and rather functionless. Today came the next step in the process.

The I-beam is something much more simple than the support in a building, it is a line. it is a material in the most literal sense of the word. The I-beam in modern architecture allows you to follow the hand of the architect as the pencil hits the paper, designing the house. It is erected like a toy, yet can bear the weight of a tree 4 times its size.

For those who saw my installation at the Atlanta Contemporary last month or the larger one at Indiana State University, you will remember i was playing with ideas of support. Haphazardly leaning the beams on each other in a temporary non committal kind of way, or shoving them completely through the wall cantilevered in drywall.

Today the beams were cut, drilled and bolted together. It brought to mind Mark diSuvero's large I-beam pieces, but at a closer look the order simulates a detail of a structure. a fragment of modernism discarded.

The I-beams have an elegance and lack of detail that i think only leaves content in the arrangement. It is the reason Mies van der Rohe used them, for a lack of detail, and the grace of a simple line. the more i think about my I-beam work the more rigid i want to get with them in a textbook fashion. I look at the new structural fragment and think more of a modern Gordon Matta-Clark than a diSuvero, cutting the corner from a modern home set in the hills of California, or the ceiling of a warehouse.

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