Apples and Bananas
—click on any image to enlarge—
In my earlier sculpture, I give concrete form to intangible sensations and barely remembered bodily experiences. This is accomplished by creating hybrid forms of mixed origins of experience – fusions of animate and inanimate worlds, simultaneously familiar yet strange. Body fragments, vegetative processes, and microscopic life fuse, mutate, and morph, and the resulting objects invite recognition while remaining mutable, suggestive, and indeterminate. Visceral experiences of longing, repulsion, fear, loss, curiosity, and discovery are elicited.
In my more recent installations such as “Little Red Riding Hood as a Crime Scene,” “Elegy for Tesla,” and “T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets,” popular folktales, history, and literature are reimagined through a contemporary lens and made into multi-sensory environments. In these installations, sculpture, videos, interactive elements, and animation create a space for exploring the implications of these known narratives and for reimagining new perspectives.
Most recently I am working on a stop motion animation, “Alice in Dystopia,” a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In this version, Alice and the Rabbit fall down the wrong rabbit hole into the contemporary world of 2020, with all of its environmental and societal ills, where the characters must find a way to confront the current crises and offer hope for renewal and change.
In all of my work different signifying systems of image, motion, language, and sound intertwine, highlighting and allowing us to reexamine different aspects of our internal and external experiences, the stories we have been told, and the assumptions we have internalized.
How we navigate multi layered experience, where signification and understanding is being endlessly reshaped, and how we create meaning and self-determination from the cacophony of sensation, memory, myth, and cultural history is the subject of all my work.
Did you mean to wake up with your nerves
dangling like sneakers from suburban trees?
Have you ever walked inside a mattress and found
a queen-sized bed frame inside? Do you enjoy igniting
brick houses with your eyebrows? Do you recognize
the kind of silence where everyone looks naked
even when they are wearing a floor length
coverup or a burkini? Have you ever shaken hands
with the bodhisattva of bitterness? Did his hand
feel like the skin of a pomegranate? Or its seeds?
Are you able to eat these days? Are you able
to stop eating? If we sing the Star-Spangled Banner
backwards while watching the Warriors, does
Coney Island become our new national capital?
Did you mean to punch me in the smoked kipper?
The wardrobe? The nightingale? Do you prefer kale chips
or woodchippers? Is your ceramic frog floatable?
How many more punches until we can untether
the fireflies? Do you enjoy the way I dangle
my earlobe in your microwaved Bolognese?
If so, when will you start loving me with a little
less than 1000 percent of that wound?
Neo is a piss-ass drunk, and it doesn’t matter if alcohol is only an idea. Meaning detaches from language and flies in slow motion like a shampoo commercial. The absent women shift behind the curtains, a mother’s face camouflaged by a William Morris floral, a sister’s breath hidden by the smell of an off-season fireplace. The 21st century is riding a bloodshot Ferrari into the mouth of climate change, and it needs pure vodka to make it okay. Nic is naked all the time. Even naked, he sweats through his clothes. Even when he’s fully dressed his dick swings unsheathed. You try lassoing the sky’s panopticon with only a goddamned body part. He knows the world isn’t real, so why not just buy a big-ass blowup doll? Why not just wear your rubber Donald Trump mask to crowded theatre and flail your octopi limbs at the screen?
The ancient Greeks imagined the machinery of fate as three women, weaving the lives of human and gods into an enormous tapestry, killing or giving life by snipping or knotting a thread. Through the medium of photography, in my new series Woven, I imagine myself introducing time and thus mortality, into the lush flora and fauna which make up the millefleurs backgrounds of medieval hunting and falconry tapestries. The 5 x 10 foot photographs sometimes take weeks to compose, and during this process of composition, of collecting, arranging, burning, painting, and transplanting, there is change. Flowers wither, spiders build webs, new shoots emerge, and corpses decay. Influenced both by the Dutch vanitas tradition and the allover graphic compositions of Jackson Pollock, I intend the photographs to be experienced as exquisitely detailed still lives when viewed from up close, but to hold together as a immersive, more abstract composition from further away. Although the pieces are all made on the same wooden frame and printed at the same scale, each photograph incorporates a distinct set of conceptual and visual ideas. Some are densely packed with rotting plant and animal life, and others more open, sprinkled with small brightly colored flowers or verdant moss. What is common to all, however, is a sense of opulence which verges on excess, a plenty which verges on plunder. In these elaborately artificial tableaux, the inexorable movements of nature are shown forth and growth and decay, beauty and terror, life and death are woven together.
My work has a natural immediacy, like a snapshot, capturing the chemical reaction of liquid inks as they are pushed into paper with a press, or sculptures that move with ambient air currents around them, interacting with the viewer.
I am interested in new realms within the field of unique prints via innovative technique and scale. The deeply embossed prints begin with an elaborately textured matrix consisting of natural forms, including aerial views of landscapes. I love the sensitivity of a wet piece of paper which perfectly records the wild and varied objects and inks, allowing saturation deep into it — or thick, reticulated ink poised on its surface, translating the moment the chemistry is caught and transfixed into this sculptural monoprint. The visceral quality of large scale prints offers a highly textured physicality only possible with the specialized equipment we have built for this purpose.
After years of bronze casting, my interest in paper has turned to casting trees with paper. Using crepe myrtle trees felled during hurricane Katrina, I form the spines of these sculptures with archival abaca paper over the trunks and branches, with the help of a structural steel armature. Comprising a series called Wonder, these sculptures are finished with individually torn translucent vellum tendrils. Some have drops of crystal at their extremities, which hold points of light, and defy gravity, like beads of water traveling along strawberry leaves. While these appear fragile, the abaca paper is incredibly durable, adding to the work’s conceptual information. With close inspection, the surface reveals the individual placement of fingertip-like pieces of abaca, forming a complex, textured surface. The kinetic aspect of these works allows them to exist in space, as we do. Animated by the viewer’s ambient air movements, they become directly involved with their audience, while producing a dance of shadows.
My work attempts to elicit an experience rather than recording or depicting an object or place; ideally, communicating aspects of being human, as I continue to grapple with that complexity.
A few years ago I would have said that my work was about structure, or more specifically about how one
constructed one’s world. Over time this has changed to a more simple and basic premise for my work. I
want to explore these little daily moments that we all experience, these glances or gestures, in which
there is a connection made with another. In these moments a small door opens up into a large new world
that, if only for a second, makes us glimpse as what it means to be human.
Welcome, readers and viewers! We’re delighted to ring out the end of 2015 with the extraordinary poetry and prose we’ve gathered for this issue of Posit. It’s an honor to publish such a rich mixture of innovative verse, short fiction, and poetic prose by literary masters at all stages of their careers, to wit:
Doug Bolling’s Scalapino-esque “…words carried from a valley a stream a mountain / just to be there cherished, fondled” by gorgeous metaphors creating “a poem of unknowns / a Magritte refusing all margins;”
Susan Charkes’ wry compendia on Practicing Panic (“adopt aroma of freshly cut cucumber” and “elude infinity”) and Unreachable Planets such as the PLANET OF CONSTANT DOWNDRAFTS (“Gravity: not an issue”);
Norma Cole’s ferociously beautiful narrative fragments of a fraught nation kept together and apart by the ‘Surface Tension’ of an iconography of sentiment and violence, in which golden angels and grandchildren eating butterscotch sundaes give way to women sleeping on sidewalks, Halloween “or some / other
masks beheading,” and “the mortars again;”
Christine Hamm’s magnetically surreal texts, in which “You said the antlers in the bucket were part of you, asked me if you should burn your necklace, the one with someone else’s name;”
Zeke Jarvis’s masterful short story about art, artifice, and free enterprise, Las Vegas style;
Halvard Johnson’s disturbing ode to The Art of Deference with its haunting last line, complemented by the resonant compression of 14 Interventions, in which “poem grenades,” like “old leaves,” “turn to / reservoirs of life;”
Carlos Lara’s virtuosic excerpt from Several Night, a “monologue of another destroyer” “ready for whatever’s next play” and populated by “numinous projectile clouds” as well as “music looping the dream archer of dreams;”
Anna Leahy’s “exacting forms” “pregnant / with possibility of motion” mirroring the beauty and menace of nature as well as “the spark of brazen imagination;”
Christina Mengert’s mind-meld with Spinoza, yielding remarkable hybrid philosophical/poetic ‘Definitions’ “by virtue of mental trampoline, / bouncing into idea as a consequence / of grace” via a collaborative “intelligence / conceived through something / more itself / than itself;”
Carol Shillibeer’s magnificent “loyalties to worlds, words and their pleasures…” posing the question, “What work has there ever been but perception?”
Danielle Susi’s brilliant juxtapositions, in which “Volume sleeps on my tongue today / because teeth can sometimes look / like pillows,” provoking us to wonder “When two sides of an abrasion stitch / back together, what do they say?”
and Derek Updegraff’s haunting and suggestive story Café, “about him and her. That’s all” although it somehow manages, in 350 words, to open itself to the far reaches of the universe.
As always, thank you for reading.
—Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann
It is my pleasure to introduce another wonderful selection of painting, photography, sculpture, and video in this issue of Posit.
Meryl Meisler has been taking photos since she was a teenager, chronicling her youth in Long Island and young adulthood in NYC in the 70’s and 80’s. Her keen eye has captured moments that are funny, moving, and offer wonderful portraits of an era.
Helena Starcevic’s carved and fabricated sculptures reflect a distinctly modernist sensibility. Cool and stripped down to their essence, these are elegant objects. Working with a restrained palette, she conveys the beauty of the form, using the contrast between matte and shiny surfaces to allow light to caress the contours of her sculptures.
The haunting videos of Pierre St. Jacques delve deep into the psychological realm of human relationships. The Exploration of Dead Ends, from which we present an excerpt, as well as still photographs and video installations, is a beautiful portrait of a man caught in the endless cycles of his life. The result is visually stunning and deeply moving.
The sweeping gesture of Heather Wilcoxon’s hand can be seen in all of her energetic and evocative paintings. Strong and committed markings typify these works. Human and animal forms live harmoniously amidst swirls of color and form in compositions dreamily reminiscent of a life lived near the sea.
The sumi ink drawings of Katarina Wong are bold, thrilling and often a bit frightening. She brings us face to face with an Inferno of emotions that swirl and whirl across the page. Recognizable human and animal features emerge and then sink into the energetic darkness.
I hope you enjoy!
18 x 24 x 4
Cast Glass, Video
18 x 24 x 4
18 x 14 x 3
Cast PolyVitro, Glass, Video
18 x 14 x 2
Cast Glass, Video
18 x 24 x 4
Cast Polyvitro, Video
Cast PolyVitro, Glass, Video
This 5 ft wide installation consists of 16 video pieces in varying sizes of cast black frames. Each video is in the form of an eye blinking; each eye different. There is a glass lens covering each video, making it appear as an an eye. Surrounding this cluster of 16 video frames are cast black roses and chrysanthemums which loosely fills out the 5ft wide circle . Black roses for memory, chrysanthemums for eternal life.
30 years ago, I received a terminal diagnosis. To keep my sanity and health, I imagined then that there were portals from above, each with someone who would watch over me to keep me safe. These were people that I had known and who had touched my life in some way.
Family members, old friends, a beloved teacher, my old camp counselor….people who had effected my life in a positive way. They would guard over me… keeping me from passing over, making me safe; imbuing me with self healing energy.
This is the first chance I have had to ever had to make a physical representation of this healing manifestation. Anyone who steps in front of it can imagine their own loved ones watching over them. I believe that anyone standing in front of this will feel that healing energy emanating from this work. Come stand in front of it and see for yourself.
I see my pieces as self-contained video installations. Blending a traditional craft with new media technology gives me the framework in which I fit my artistic narrative. Contemporary, yet with the aesthetic of Victorian techno-fetishism. Revelation — and in some cases self-revelation — is the underlying theme of my electronic reliquaries and baroque cast frames.
My interactive pieces can be seen as disturbing because the images that stare back from the video screen prompts a variety of responses: amusement, discomfort, embarrassment, something akin to the feeling you have when someone catches you looking at your own reflection in a store window as you walk by.
But the important revelations here are in the viewer’s response to my hybrid art form and its conceptual nature. I try to bare everything — the guts of my materials and my inner thoughts — in deceptively simple narrative videos set into specimen jars or ultra-Victorian cast glass picture frames. Nothing is random, all elements are thought out.
To me, these works are phylacteries of sorts, the transparent reliquaries in which bits of saints’ bones or hair — relics — are displayed. In many cultures and religions, relics are believed to have healing powers. My relics are temporal, sounds and moving images formally enshrined, encapsulating experiences like cultural specimens. And perhaps, to the contemporary soul, they are no less reliquaries than those containing the bones of a saint.
With technology rapidly changing the way we perceive art, the current day contemporary landscape closely mirrors Victorian times in the arts. We marvel at and invent bridges between past and present in an effort to define our time and make sense of this highly transitory moment in artistic history.
Tim taught in Istanbul in August 2007 and at Penland School on several occasions. In 2009 he received an award from the Museum of American Glass in New Jersey as one of the “Rising Stars of the 21st Century.” He received his Fulbright Award from Sunderland University in England in 2012. He is also the founder of “Glass Secessionism.” Tim shows his work at numerous international art fairs, such as ArtBasel Switzerland, Art Miami, SOFA and Frieze, London. TimTateSculpture.com