The Party Favors, including Party Sticks, will be hybrid concoctions of hair accessories and other plastic and bamboo objects. The compositions will be eclectic with glossy, color-saturated surfaces. Some will be wall pieces, others tabletop, with a couple even taking the forms of miniature fountains. They will for the most part be around 7-12” in each direction.
Party Favors were conceived upon seeing what I interpreted as ‘party sticks’ in a Mexican museum. The antithesis of precious Fine Art, they are loose, somewhat fatuous whims. In the spirit of Lewis Hyde’s book The Gift, they can be given away instead of adding to sculpture storage burden. They are sort of petite “talismans” for a society of hoarders.
Like Ida Applebroogs’s small books sent to friends in the mail, the sculptures live when they are given away. Hence, opting out of the market system, which evaluates art in a warped way, these trifles have instead the more enduring folk heart-value. More pagan than puritan, they nod to a non-Western, more nature-centered culture with some variety of Eleusinian Mysteries a yearly festival.
Formally, I want to construct these pieces to loosen up my sculpture overall. I seek to become more able to leave unfinished, open areas in pieces. (Think Cezanne.) I aim to use these whatnots to push form off-kilter, off-gravity, and off-symmetry —qualities I admire in Jessica Stockholder’s oeuvre. I plan to keep them in the experimental mode to open up new possibilities for series in the future.
Link 2D wall surface and 3D space of site to give a new sensation of SPACE
Waterfalls are absolutely heretical artworks in that they are over the top embellished.
They lack dignity and refinement.
They are an ingenuous materiologist’s frolicking in plastic paradise.
As artifice, they acknowledge their lack of nature’s pure refreshment, but instead claim their right to glamour luster.
Three rectangular Japanese style lanterns are hung in a row on a wall with cords gathered together, stretched up to the ceiling and arcing outward, like water flowing out of a fountain. (two end pieces: 25”x 8”x8”; middle piece with ‘tail’: 52” x 8” x 8”.) Blue light emanating from inside the lanterns floods the surrounding space. Transforming the 3-D rectangles into semi-mystical beacons, are multiform shiny accouterments—transparent, square, blue vinyl frames, blue glass holiday ornaments, colorful hair accessories, and an absurd fat “tail” of pink and purple Christmas ornaments. Formally, I am interested in connecting the condensed format of art hanging on a wall to the expansiveness of the room to attain a subtle shift in our sensation of space. The initial tiers of meaning start with: a) connotations of light as agent of transcendence and b) respect-for-nature Eastern ethos versus Western commercialized holidays. That Christmas is actually the current incarnation of the pagan festival Saturnalia is another interesting angle to examine.
Currently No Images
I envision various incarnations of the MYTHOPOETIC SPACE. They all involve water. With colored lights inside glowing at night and shiny transparent coverings on top reflecting sunlight during the day, a fleet of lanterns will poetically drift on a body of water.
In Japan and other Asian countries, once a year after a three day festival, lanterns are set loose on a river to let the spirits of ancestors glide gently back to their resting place in the other world. This tranquil time of reflection in nature has no equal in American culture. Beyond, calling attention to our need to revere nature, the luminous mythopoetic globes could also be an act of gratitude, not to ancestors, but to artists. Potentially each lantern could be dedicated to an artist or other luminary who has persevered in a private quest and inspired me and others deeply with their work. Names of these often unsung heros could be inscribed on sides of lanterns.
Japanese lanterns are made of paper, but I will use a more durable material, perhaps attaching plastic bottles on the bottom to form floatation apparatus. They will each be unique in shape twists and surface pattern. Lavishly colored and textured, they embody a central conceptual thrust: the clarion call to allow emotion and beauty back into Art. My lanterns will not replicate those of any culture but will be more like Disneyland fake lanterns. They won’t have Disney characters but will have a simulacra sensibility.
There is also an uncanny, stimulating ‘je ne sais quoi’ sensation we can feel when the artificial and natural are juxtaposed. In fact, that configuration is ideal. Think Chinese gardens in Suzhou with exquisite man-made architecture complimenting nature’s cascading pools, or even a city park at night with the streetlights magically illuminating areas of the overlapping canopies of trees.
I see the lanterns floating in a canal in Venice, in the large basin of a fountain in front of a corporation, or in the East River of Manhattan. Each incarnation of this project will be produced on a different scale. In the East River, they will be large, (say about 4-5 ft. square or in diameter.) In other pools they will be smaller, though larger than any lanterns you see in Asia in the real-life festivals.
(At a nearby museum or other venue, I hope to hold some workshops where kids from the community can make their own lanterns and set them out on the water as well. They will be collected at the end of the day with each participant taking lantern home to give to her/his dedicatee. Alternately, the participants could write a wish on their lantern.)
Khi - Khi
Hoi An Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival Wuhan China
USC Reflecting Pool
Seoul Lantern Festival
Zhou Zhuang Lanterns
Abstractions from lush insides and encrusted surfaces of large sculptures create color-saturated netherworlds. I seek to take photography beyond prosaic documentation of human life, subject matter, which has been run into the ground. Losing its literalness, photography has an untapped potential to enable us to feel a diverse strata of emotion. I play with the scale so the objects look large and more enigmatic and the tiers of confectionary space look inhabitable. I am keen to grow this more pragmatic wing of my practice to foster participation in a wider arena of shows/benefits/sales.
A large (60” x 60” diameter x 12”) blazing-yellow, round Chinese Curio shelf on a long, narrow Chinese table (36” x 13” x 50”) will be set 10” out from the wall. Placed on the shelves are placed objects with no clear identity. From the front, the viewer will see through three shifting layers to a Chinoiserie fabric background. Myriad shiny, transparent yellow and green materials stretch across sections of the shelves, front and back, forming patterned translucent shapes. (glass and plastic beads, various texture plastic sheeting, diaphanous fabrics, rubber, etc.) To heighten the viewer’s sensation, the lights will be blue or yellow with some areas mixing into green. The piece initially reflects on the practice of displaying precious objects. In the past, revered were well-designed, impeccably crafted, objects of natural and handwrought beauty that possessed an inner essence. Now we might display jewelry or objets d’art but often, it is due to the monetary value, the celebrity level of the designer, or the appearance of glamour that we award merit, not to an object’s aura, (as many of them have none.) There are next, Eastern versus Western value systems, Orientalism, and other cultural issues to muse on, with further signification derived from meanings inherent in the faux gems and plastics.
Curio Shelf w/o table
A metallic-lavender toy suitcase facing inward towards a mirror on a 48” high shelf is overflowing with various beguiling pink, violet, and blue plastic baubles. A regal hot fuchsia and metallic yellow Chinese silk brocade fabric hangs down from under the suitcase and then arcs over to a second shelf with a vertical rack of transparent pink ornaments hanging from it. A Kelly green painted antique Chinese footstool diagonally placed on the floor welcomes visitors to step up and view the suitcase treasures in the mirror. Conceptually the piece begins with: beauty, desire, femininity, narcissism, fashion, emotional distortions, and Orientalism. The ramifications of these issues in relation to the configuration of the piece will be considered when the work is complete.
Prinsaessa In Progress
Prinsaessa In Progress
Prinsaessa In Progress
From a grid constructed on the ceiling, approximately 15-20 Tower sculptures will be hung in irregular formation as in a forest in a large space. The tent openings will all face in different directions. There may be Breeze Catchers and some other sculptures factored into the aggregation. The patterns of fabrics will be selected for their cultural signification. As Mathew Ronay’s summer 2011 installation “Between the Worlds” at Andrea Rosen did, the amassment of numerous Towers will transform the space into an otherworld. Ronay’s piece was rather voodoo-esque referencing an unknown primitive culture. Mine will feel more in the realm of fairy tales and fantasy coming out of the conceptual terrain of fashion. (in general, still-untapped)
Breeze Catchers (detail)
To facilitate intimate cross-cultural communication amongst members of the TransArt and other international communities, I will fabricate an alluring 10’ x 7’ Tent of myriad elaborate exotic fabrics, trimmings and objects. In an effort to juxtapose and consider values of surface and substance, decoration and elucidation, both visual and verbal arenas will be intensified. Inside, it will feel like being under a vast waterfall of 100’s of mixed ribbons with tags coming down to just about one’s head height if sitting down. Hence, visitors will be encouraged to sink into the plush couches where they can easily reach up and pull down a literary tag to muse on. Ultimately, in the comforting haven, deeper reflection and stirring communication flourishes. On the plane of intellectual luster, eluding ruts of social nattering, book lovers can bring to one another shared consciousness.
Preface: I will send an email out to my extensive international Art World network. (culled from years of globetrotting with Scope and other Art Fairs, and reviewing exhibitions for magazines.) I’ll ask each person to send me three loved books and three loved quotes from books. (or more if they want.) These book titles and quotes will be printed onto colorful tags attached to colored elastic cords and ribbons which will be hung from the tent ceiling.
On site, before entering, curators, critics, collectors, and public who have already submitted to the project can type in some favorite titles or quotes on a computer outside the Tent to be added to the database. A printer will then spit out tags for each newly submitted book, (and quote) which, with hooks and ribbons, can be hung among the others in the forest of streamers in the enclosure.
As in the movies House of the Flying Daggers (Zhang Yimou) and Elizabeth (Shekhar Kapur), the canopied space will be alluring, accented with with festive fabrics. Feather down pillows will lend the warmth of a cozy country Inn. In Morocco, houses and restaurants are usually lined on three walls with long patterned, cushioned sofas. The emphasis is on communal life where family and friends exchange ideas and opinions. In frenetic urban life, we often don’t even have time to share a dinner or lunch with colleagues. So while we’ve gained in productivity, we’ve lost a certain relatedness.
Like the tent’s traditional function itself, the project will be nomadic. I aim to install this project in several countries. (A museum curator in Naples has signed on so far.) On Laptop stations outside the structure one can see into any participant, a sort of psychological voyeurism. A master roster of all participants' books and quotes or just selected lists can be printed out. There will be a website so readers of various nationalities can join the project
Install sculptures in a large midtown atrium, upscale boutique mall such as that in Trump Tower or boutique hotel lobby.
Sculptures will be small--medium Cakes, Patisserie Chinoise, simple Patisserie pieces, bench pieces or new works. Composition-wise, they will be in line with my previous sculpture: baked good-shaped, spritely colored, encrusted with rich texture, and each with a idiosyncratic character. They will likely possess interior space, which is obscure but also visible through perforations in the surface in some areas.
Ultimately, I envision sculptures integrated with seating and lush tracts of plants. The Patisserie or other pieces could be set on integrated stands above or nestled into long/wide planters of plants with benches snaking around them. Additionally, with greenery and even potted flowers ‘flouncing out’ the edges, sculptures could form centerpieces on high round tables (with stools or curved high benches around them) for lunch or tea/coffee. Additionally, as in traditional edifying Chinese gardens, understated plaques interspersed amongst the greenery each with a resonant quote from literature, could add stimulating dimension of meaning to the art experience.
Kasja Pretty Pagoda
Ping Ping, Ko Wei, Nai Nai
Large Altar installation. I aim to revisit the theme (and irony) of the Temple, questioning the notion of spirituality in 21st century America. I will work in a similar sensibility with confectionary forms but with different structures and combinations of materials. The configuration of four sculptures will be site-specific, relating to the architecture of the site.
Incarnation I of Glamour Trance at Rupert Ravens Contemporary (2009) was set up in a symmetrical cross-formation of four ‘shrines’:
----a quartet of Pink Loaves on a Chinese table in front
----two 6’ x 81/2’ multiple-tier Cakes, one on each side, Vanitas and Veritas
----a domed structure on a tall round stand in back, Shuan Shi, (Double Happiness)
----a 10’ green transparent vinyl banner hanging on the back wall
Materials: vinyl, hair accessories, wire, bamboo, beads, X’mas ornaments, wood, cellophane, fabric, light, and other plastics. Local shopping will spawn elemental cake-shrine framework and surface bling. (The first sculptures were constructed from toy vanity benches found in Newark toy stores.)
Vanitas, Double Happiness, Pink Loaves, Veritas
Cakes (Veritas, Double Happiness, Vanitas)
Double Happiness (detail)
Colored hair clips clamped together in patterned rows hang from a bamboo rod or series of rods evoke Oriental scrolls. Alternately, jawclips are clipped together in quartets, then wired incrementally together to form a textile-like surface, bringing to mind a Gee’s Bend quilt hanging in a museum.
This series is about global capitalism and questioning of values. Referencing ancient revered Asian scrolls which contained transcendent wisdom or art, I concoct scrolls out of hair accessories to represent the shallowness of American culture. Clip quilts invoke the authentic craft of poor black southerners cobbling together heartfelt coverlets from the scraps of fabric they can lay their hands on. The cold, hard plastic quilts forged of jaw clip quartets divulge suburban values of instant surface beauty but are ultimately soulless. Yet, that said, I still hope for a paradox: value to be found in the inconsequential.
Clip Quilt (In Progress)