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I’ve always had a sense of self as landscape, and my floor drawing installations in their first incarnations were a manifestation of just this—not quite self-portraits, but more a kind of marriage of the personal/particular and the universal—a searching for some artifact or reality or truth of self/time/place. And yes, the work is a distant relative of the Tibetan sand mandalas, Hopi sand paintings and more, even though these traditions were not on my mind as I headed into the work.
The first installation began with my playing one day with multi-generational images of a small pencil drawing of sea shells using old Xerox copy machines. And before I could look up, I had an installation floor drawing with a ground of these images, covered with a light scatter of sand and mica, then a layer of glass panels drawn-on on both sides with white china marker—the whole embedded in white glass sand that was then sometimes drawn-on or banked, and always bevelled all around the edges of what had become a 22’ x 22’ square.
• 10 Digital Drawings of Possible Installations
All of these are imagined at 22'x22' with abstracted cosmos images taken from Hubble Telescpope creating the ground for the landscape with layers of mica and pigment, a layer of drawn-on glass panels, with all embedded in pigmented glass sand, and with the addition of some spare theatrical light.
• Eastern Field
22' x 22' x app 4" h. Sand and mica on multigeneration xerox images of a pencil drawing of sea shells, abstracted to the extreme and arranged as a mandela; a layer of glass panels with white china marker; glass sand shaped and banked and bevelled all around the edge of the square. Shown on a black floor in low light with small spots. Originally shown at the Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY for the group show, Alternative Imaging Systems.
• 4-Quartered Field
22' x 22' x app 4" h. Sand and mica on multigeneration haloid xerox images of my grandmother's rag rug, arranged in mirrored-quarters and then repeated—more topographical than mandala-like and alternating with weaving patterns; a layer of glass panels with white china marker; drawn-on glass sand bevelled all around the edges of the square. Shown on a black floor in low light with small spots.
• Night River
25' x 15' x 6". After a series of sand/glass fields done in various materials I did a few 'rivers' using pigmented glass sand and mica spread thinly over plastic sheeting so that it sometimes looked ice melting or a river flowing or skin covered by a sheer gown; embedded drawn-on glass panels; edges bevelled; Shown on a high-gloss gray floor in low light with small spots.
• 9's Field/An Elegy
18' x 18' x 9". This piece is an offshoot of the sand/glass floor drawings, more sculpture than drawing, constructed as a truncated pyramid of pea-sized anthracite coal with 9 embedded cast squares of coal, sand and mica in resin. Shown here in nautral light against a slate floor at the Heroy Geology Buidling, Syracuse University, but it was also shown in low light with small spots on a black floor. The edge here is squarred and precise if not quite-bevelled.
I dreamed this one after a friend's death, and it very tangentially reminds me of Queen Hatshepsut's tomb . . . . And then wokring with a respirator and heavy gloves to cast the resin, I realized that, after an odd fashion, I was echoing the labor of my coal-miner forebearers.