Empty of meaning
05 Nov 21 by justatest
Returning for a short visit to Italy after six years absence, I´ve been looking forward to working on an old, unfinished sculpture I´d left there. The actual object is complete but it´s the surface that needs working on.
As luck would have it, I found a folder on file of a few images as it was being made, so I´m posting them here for reference. The folder was entitled empty of meaning - don´t remember why, but I´ll keep with that for now as nothing better comes to mind.

early rear painting

... first impressions are a cross between a stuck pig and an aztec moon. I can see there´s a long way to go before this thing will even begin to make any sense.

look back

justatest sacred paddy thing

And so I´m thinking of hanging this object in mid-air in such a way that it can be walked around and viewed from all sides. It means that the back surface needs to be painted so I´ve taken in down, put it on it´s side, and add this shot of how it looks before I make a start. Glad to observe that the Ukrainian colours have somehow gotten there before me.

Return to Work

resumption with colour

So once again, the mapping out of the work begins with the slow application of oil colour. My impression is that this work is hugely ungainly, a clumsy piece, and that I´d like to make it less so. How? If I follow my usual instinct, it will be to scratch away at areas introducing a basic modeling and look out for opportunities of pattern and sequence. The harmony and balance of colour and form are of course desired goals, and if I´m lucky, the uncovering of unexpected surprise along the way that can be kept within the finished work would be (for me) both unusual and welcome.

Where I´d left off

what I found when I got back

So back once more in the grim garage studio, this is the point at which I resume. As there´s no easel here anymore, I´ll have to find a way of hoisting it up as it was conceived as a hanging piece and I need to work on it where it´s up off the ground.

Ready for paint

jute is gesso´d a few times and then given a yellow oil wash

Cloth skin

layer of jute soaked in rabbit skin glue

And now I wanted a more rugged look that gives a sense of the surface as robust and arbitrary i.e. less ´manufactured´ and more natural. The jute cloth I make use of so much is perfect for that.

Initial paper skin

first coat of gesso on paper skin

Yep it´s a pretty goofy look alright.

Early build

paper and glue skin at first

So then moving beyond the cool curvilinear transparency, let´s see how graceless and awkward it becomes with a solid surface.

Base structure

filling out the emptiness

Employing more of the same wire, a three dimensionality was built out of the curves of the base, giving it (what I consider to be) a quirky constructivism aesthetic.

Empty of meaning

discarded offcut

The idea for the project began with a wire offcut (actually the inner section removed from this work [LINK]) which caught my eye. Maybe that´s why it´s empty of meaning, as I was only looking to amuse myself to see if an unwanted discard could assume a future with a little promise.
I´ve already done something very similar to this here [LINK]