Filed under: Revealing and Obscuring
For this painting, I took nine maps of Vermont/New Hampshire and numbered them 1-9, and had the computer randomly rearrange them. I threw a 100 foot extension cord on the center map and spattered a randomly selected color. Then I repeated the process three more times, once for each color, red, blue, black, yellow.
The result? Unexpected connections and disconnections. Paths that make sense, and some that don’t seem to—at least not in this present configuration. But there are glimpses of other ways the connections might line up. And all the paths would line up—if we could see four ways at once.
Filed under: Wayfinder
“Wayfinder for March 25, 2013″
Acrylic enamel on highway maps, 76″ x 72″
Everything in life is a partial revelation. We don’t know anything completely, so we all find our way using fragments, glimpses, and tracings of what really might be. See more of the series here.
The show at Jaffrey Civic Center is up until November 10. Thanks to everyone who helped with the opening reception and to Dion and the JCC folks who made this great space available.
More photos here.
Opening reception October 12, 2012, 6:00- 8:00pm
Show runs October 12 to November 10
Friday I took my bag of cocktail umbrellas and a 2-meter aluminum measuring stick with me to Slottsskogen park, and started a curve with a meter between the umbrellas and 15 millimeters offset.
Here are the beginning 3 umbrellas:
So the first two are lined up along the straight edge 1 meter apart. The third one is a meter apart too, but offset by 15 mm. Here’s a close-up of the 15 mm offset.
It was an interesting experiment: start with a plan, repeat an action–knowing you’re not completely accurate, and go on to the next one. How much difference will 15 mm make? In fact, it looks like a pretty darn stupid thing to be doing.
Anyhow, it made me think of how life is made up of repeated actions that seem to not have much effect, or even look pretty stupid. For instance, every morning I read a little scripture and pray a bit. I’m not great at praying, and some mornings I forget, or hurry through or get distracted. Sometimes I wonder if it makes any difference. My American culture would say it’s a waste of time. And objectively, it does look a little stupid. But I get up and repeat, although imperfectly. We all do these kinds of repetitive, somewhat mundane things, hoping in faith that something beautiful –maybe even something perfect– will result. Will it?
So in the wonderful Swedish summer sunshine I set out 76 umbrellas, one meter apart, 15 mm offset, repeating the plan until I hit the sidewalk at the edge of the park. See the result here.
If God is perfect, everything he does has to be perfect–yet here he is, doing his stuff through imperfect people, in a world that’s obviously messed up. So, can something perfect be made through imperfect means?
I found online an engineering book from the 1800s describing how railroad builders used to lay out huge, consistent curves for the railroad. It gets complicated fast: chords, sines, cosines… but simply put, if you make a straight line between two points, and continue the line to where the third point should fall, but move the point off center by a little bit, that’s a template for making a curve.
So I did some figuring and made a template with 37cm between points with a 1.5 cm deflection of the third point. It should make a curve of 49 sections that’s 16 meters across. I went to Slottsskogen park just nearby and with my template, laid out a curve in the lawn using cocktail umbrellas.
Here’s the template:
So sticking cocktail umbrellas in the lawn is an inherently inaccurate system, but 49 umbrellas later, here’s the result:
A nice, smooth, elegant curve through the birches. Measuring the result, my predicted angle was off, but distance between ends came to 16.07 meters! Not bad. Video here.
As I was finishing up, a mom walked by with a stroller and two boys, about 4 and 6 years old, classic blond miniSwedes. The older boy runs over to the umbrellas and pipes up, in perfect English, “Did you make this?”
Explaining to the mom –in Swedish– what I was up to was indeed inaccurate, but somehow perfect…
Filed under: Sweden
One of the ideas I wanted to pursue at Konstepidemin was to project a grid onto the painting surface so I could have guide marks I could turn on and off. After getting the necessary hardware and electrical adapters and making a bracket out of an old coat hanger, I hung my digital projector on the studio wall. Then I made a grid of circles in Illustrator.
I had punched out a bunch of 3/4″ circles from a deck of playing cards (furthering the luck/chance metaphor) and placed them on the grid. 9 out of 10 go randomly on the far left rows, 8 out of 10 on next three rows, and so on.Here’s how it looks with the projector turned off. Now to spatter with paint!