It Cannot Be Trivial

Entries Tagged as 'Installation'


They Shall Cover the Ground, So That the Ground Itself Will Not Be Visible

June 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment

They Shall Cover The Ground

1992, Cement Installation

It was supposed to be a commentary on overpopulation and global warming.

Exodus 10:5, “They shall cover the ground so the ground itself will not be visible,” is the eighth ultimatum Moses delivers to Pharoah to describe a plague of locusts.  The resulting plague, “Ate all the vegetation in the land…Nothing green was left on any tree or plant.”(Ex 10:15)

The quote was inscribed on a 750 pound  slab of cement made to look like a typical piece of sidewalk.  I proposed and received permission from the Vice President of the College to install the slab on an island of mulch surrounded by concrete in front of the college campus center.

They Shall Cover The Ground

The installation coincided with the annual spring fine arts majors’ show in the middle of April. Buildings and grounds transported the slab from the sculpture studio with a fork lift and the difficulty in doing this safely led them to delay removing the slab at the end of the show.

On April 29th 1992 four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of criminal wrongdoing in the beating of Rodney King. A bystander from a balcony had videotaped what looked to most (including myself) like a merciless beating of King by the officers with nightsticks. Yet, a jury found the officers not guilty on April 29 and six days of rioting followed in Los Angeles.

I watched with many friends the near-continuous and instantaneous coverage of the riots on television. However naive it may have been, we all did our best to make sense of the riots.

Meanwhile the slab of cement was still there. It was now being interpreted by some I spoke with in the context of the riots. “They” had become abusive powers and the “ground” had become the truth.

In the middle of May, Buildings and Grounds finally decided the safest thing would be to crack the slab apart before moving it. I didn’t get to see it, but the B & G guys said it busted up easily and they tossed the remains in the dumpster.

Tags: Installation · Sculpture


June 4th, 2010 · 1 Comment

PSI “Oh that’s interesting. So what are you going to do? Illustrate science textbooks or something?” This was a typical response to my choice to major in chemistry and fine art. My answer varied from, “Yes. ” (easiest and least confrontational) to “No” (not in the mood and likely off-putting) to the truthful “I’m not really sure.” I really had no plan at the time, but I did make attempts to marry the two.

There is a lot of visualization in chemistry, particularly organic chemistry. An organic chemist colleague of mine, Stephen Fearnley, and I chat about chemistry a bit on the LIRR from Brooklyn to Jamaica. I’m definitely very, very rusty but one thing he said recently reminded me how art and organic chem do relate.

“Organic Chemistry is still a very pencil and paper subject. Lots of drawing of chemical structures, arrows pointing to where electrons are going, showing changes in molecules, etc.” I would often  put structures in my art notebook and began to qualify chemistry statements and rules with my own authoritative interpretations. These word plays on the rules of chemistry lead to a lot work related to science, art, and safety.

PSI, ψ (pictured above) is about the mathematics used to describe an electron in orbit around a nucleus.  It was to be part of an installation I proposed for the Holy Cross science building atrium between Swords and Haberlin Halls. It was rejected by Father William O’Halloran which I discussed in my first post to this blog.

PSI, ψ  is a 47″ x 60″ block of painted plaster adhered to gypsum board mounted on a two by four frame. It’s like a relief painting with deep grooves and ridges, so I decided to use it as a printmaking block rolling white acrylic paint and pressing black paper to make a white “thumb print.” I made about eight prints with the goal of using the block and prints for the installation. None of the prints remain.

This mock-up for the installation was attached to the proposal, but shows how the suspending block was to be the nucleus, with the prints surrounding to create the electron cloud.

PSI Proposal P3

Tags: Installation · Print

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