The following images catalog my participation in a residency and exhibition titled "Art Rally:Koumi, Japan". (residency June 15 - July 1, 2017 / exhibition July 1 - August 20)
I created 16 sets of my sculpture titled 'Face to Face' in cast concrete. Two sets were displayed at the Koumi Machi Museum of Art and the other 14 were placed at sites all around the town of Koumi.
Beside a lake in Matsubarako Park
Installed on a walking bridge
Four fiberglass molds were created before going to Japan. They were used to cast the concrete sculptures during the two week residency. I am applying oil to a mold in this photo.
Max Lofano, a current student working on his art degree at San Diego State, helped produce the concrete castings and install the work at the various sites throughout the town of Koumi.
The sculptures were made hollow inside so that they would be easier to move. Each half of the finished artworks still weighed roughly 100 pounds.
Max is mixing the concrete while I carefully pack it into a fiberglass mold.
Concrete castings waiting to be installed
I am installing one of 16 sets of sculptures
Max helped me load and unload the sculptures from the work site to the installation sites.
Exhibition reception and talk
My wall sculpture, "Suspension 1" and two other Suspension works were also installed inside the museum.
Artists, Curators, Translators, Museum Staff
From left to right: Anna O'Cain (consultant), Max Lofano (artist assistant) , Dean Ramos (artist), John Reid (artist), Richard Keely (artist), Ayumi Shimoda (catalog translator), Bill Gilbert (artist), Yoshimi Hayashi (artist), Erika Osborne (artist), Junichi Natori (museum director), Allison Beaudry (artist assistant), Yuka Nakajima (museum staff), Mihoko Shinohara (museum staff), Minoru Nakajima (museum curator)
Wood, 15" x 22.5" x 13"
An organic form made of several open interlocking segments leans on a single stick to bear its weight. The physical marks on its surface suggest a textured skin. Its segments, made from thick joined wood boards, have rounded edges and corners which soften their underlying geometry. Two of the cubes protectively face downward, while the other two invite the viewer to explore their interior.
Burnt and natural wood, steel hardware, 36" x 24" x 12"
A massive blackened bust is suspended midair. Natural wood is revealed between its divided halves and throughout the jagged edges below. Although the division might suggest defeat, the powerful presence of the form denies this.
Wood, 16" x 20" x 36"
A hollow beam of wood creates a bridge that passes directly through the heads of two life-sized wooden busts that face one another. Although the viewer can look directly through the beam nothing more is revealed, the silent exchange remains elusive.
Burnt and natural wood, 17" x 7" x 8"
This was the first piece made in a series that explores the expressive potentials of a most rudimentary form, the cube. 4 x 4 Redwood lumber was burned and cut into blocks to reveal the woods inner warmth. To provide variety each cut has a different angle. It is not evident how the blocks are connected. The stack is precarious: it looks as if the stack of blocks has lost its balance and is tumbling.
Burnt and natural wood, steel rebar, 28" x 20" x 12"
A mysterious blackened bust appears to have been reconfigured so that its two sides face outward. When viewed from front or back an opening is visible between them. Varying lengths of steel rebar radiate from the halves of the head, emphasizing an outward movement. The blackened form sits upon a natural wood block, the raw material from which the bust was created.
Wood, paint, stainless steel wire, and steel hardware, 20.5” x 13” x 8”
A head-like form, separated from its body, rests on the bird’s back. Three stainless steel wires form an arch that joins the severed connection. The testicular forms, hanging below the headless body, imply the loss of something essential: a loss of life or sexuality. The title and the hanging parts suggest the gesture of giving the finger. Sitting on its perch, in an uplifted position, the bird seems to overcome its hopeless state. The black color makes the piece iconic.
3 on 1
Burnt and natural wood, paint, steel hardware,17.5" x 19" x 7"
Three heavy textured and burned redwood timbers are balanced on a naturally sawn pine wood block with an intense red opening. The rugged cuts on the blackened surface of the upper timbers reveal the warmth of the wood within.
Wood, paint, 46.5” x 12” x 12"
The four blocks in this work were originally designed to interlock. When the artist first fit them together he determined that the joints, the most interesting element of the sculpture, should not be hidden. Now unlocked and painted bright red, the surfaces that were joined draw the viewers’ attention. Ironically, the joints that actually hold the forms together are now hidden. The blocks are massive and heavy, but the red interiors provide warmth and humanize the work.
Pierced and Joined
Burnt and natural wood, 18" x 36" x 18"
PVC, stainless steel, acrylic, copper wire, 23” x 11” x 8”
White plastic ribbons curve in complex movements interacting with light and shadow. A larger form is lifted by a smaller one. Like smoke rising and drifting away, the forms appear to escape the poles that would contain them.
PVC, threads, copper wire, 24" x 15" x 6"
The white cut curves are precise, but the red threads delicately drape over the lowest curve. This gesture of resting is the point of interaction and balance. Like dripping water or blood they suggest downward movement.
PVC, stainless steel, wood, copper wire, 19” x 22” x 16”
Like an Alexander Calder stabile, the piece is balanced on an oak perch. This perch is essential; it supports the steel rod on which the delicate sculpture floats in a lyric, dancing movement.
PVC, wood, stainless steel, copper wire, 46” x 34” x 14”
In the lower form, white linear plastic strips and twisted copper wires create a network that wraps and repeats the structure of redwood sticks within. The upper form, composed of organic white shapes and thin stainless steel rods breaks free, rising upward, escaping the geometric structure below.
Wood, PVC, thread, stainless steel, 27” x 9” x 7”
Like some of the other works, in this sculpture a heavier form is balanced atop a smaller and lighter one. The natural geometric wood shapes and pink threads connecting them first draw one’s attention. The viewers eyes move below to the white plastic cutouts and stainless steel rods that gradually curve outward in a cupping gesture suggesting that it could hold something.
PVC, wood, thread, 15” x 15” x 14.5”
Hanging slightly above eye level, we see seven overlapping layers of unusual shapes - remnants from previous works that are stitched together with colored threads. Now they are organized, descending in size with downward broken movements.
Wall Walker 1
PVC, wood, copper wire, 12" x 12.5" x 10"
The Wall Walkers stand upon the wall like spiders with wooden legs. Twisted copper wires join the parts together, holding white plastic strips in a tension that curves them into volumes. Everything in these sculptures is visible, simple and pure, with a delicate balance.
Wall Walker 2
PVC, wood, copper wire, 16.5" x 13.5" x 14"
Wall Walker 3
PVC, wood, copper wire, 20" x 15.5" x 11"
Wall Walker 4
PVC, wood, copper wire, 24" x 13" x 11.5"
Empty and Full
Wood, stones, steel mesh, tar, wire, 19” x 11” x 6"
Pure white egg-like stones overfill the blackened upper cage, suggesting an abundance of fertility. The lower basket is upside down, tilted and empty, unable to contain anything; or maybe its cargo has escaped. Black tar covers the parts, except for one stick that diagonally thrusts upward, exposing the underlying wood.
wire mesh, tar, wood, stainless steel rods, copper wire, paint, 16" x 20" x 18"
These works were first carefully ordered and joined then crushed, reordered and rejoined. The decision to crush them transformed their organized and predictable nature: a violent act brought about an unpredictable freedom.
wire mesh, tar, wood, stainless steel rods, copper wire, paint, 20" x 26" x 8"
wire mesh, tar, wood, stainless steel rods, copper wire, paint, 17" x 23" x 9"
Installed at the Kluadia Marr Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Acrylic and monofilament, approximately 66" x 48" x 6"
In the Suspensions series the artist translated ultrasounds of the human heart into flat acrylic shapes. These translucent organic shapes, placed so that they slightly overlap one another, combine to create compositions that conform to arcs and circles to suggest flowing movement. Although the Suspensions began with the desire to make the interior of the human body visible, they are also explorations of the way that light and shadow can cause the translucent material, of which they are made, to suggest the immaterial. When air currents stir the shapes which hang by thin threads, they echo the movement and beating of the heart.
Acrylic and monofilament, approximately 22" x 48" x 6"
Suspension 4 detail
Suspension 4 installation view
Installed at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Acrylic and monofilament, approximately 60" x 120" x 6"
Exhibit wall with 25 cutouts
PVC on plywood, the average size is 9" x 12"
The cutouts, precise and hand cut, are made of white plastic mounted on wood panels. Material interactions portray abstract patterns, inspired by architectural forms, some fundamental and others less familiar.
Four clusters of shimmering stainless steel arcs, suspended by barely visible threads, descend and ascend in patterns that echo the arc itself. Subtle air currents stirred by human movements within the room affect the suspended arcs: interactions that complete the work.
Installation at the Koumi Machi Kougen Musuem of Art, Koumi Japan, Wood rods, paint, and monofilament
Installation at Art Produce Gallery in San Diego, California
Rebar tie wire and red zipties
Installation in the Brandel Library at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois
Plywood, polycarbonate, paint, metal hardware, wire, and monofilament
This piece responds to the architecture of the stairwell, it is physically contained by it but seems to break free. The observer gets the maximum impact by viewing it from different perspectives.