Saturday, January 30, 2010

Units Assemblies Revisited


This is another, better, example of thinking in units. The difference between yesterday's units and these was the source. I was the sole creator of all of these units and they are assembled as I wished them to be. Yesterday, I only created one unit and tried to use technology to create the other three. It didn't work--something about a display code of which I, a novice blogger, know nothing about and so had no real control over how the photos laid out. It was annoying.

My hands is an an assembly and a collage of paper casts I made from a sculpture I did of my left hand. It wasn't done in a day; it was done in 1979 over a period of many days. First sculpting the hand. Then making the mould. Then making the paper pulp. Then casting the pulp in the mould and letting it dry.

I moulded a hand a day until I had enough units to fill the space. Then I put a coat of tinted wax over them to repel dust and protect the relief sculptures, (you never have to dust your candles do you? I didn't want the fingers to be dust collectors). Each papercast, made from a different pulp, took the colored wax differently. The handmade paper was porous. The wax finish sealed the paper, gave it strength and a chance at longevity, (when we moved, I didn't leave this one to the movers; it moved in the passenger seat next to me).

Painting with tinted paraffin is called Encaustic painting. It's been done for centuries for the merits of repelling dirt and dust; and in Jasper Johns' time if transparency was desired or for building texture on grounds without overloading the support with paint of questionable chemistry.

Again: combining units strengthens compositions and enlarges the artistic statement. When they're handmade, it's also a journalistic way of working in that no unit will be exactly like another--unless you are using a graphic art (silk screen, photograph, etc.) like I did yesterday with photography and Andy Warhol did with his silkscreens.

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