Studio progress and Tallahassee excursions

So the past month or so of the new year I spent with the goal of actually completing some new works in the studio rather than starting several and slowly working on them over time. In actuality, I have been working on several over time, which is a good thing, but to remain interested in an idea as an artist you have to complete it at some point or it will become stagnant.

I completed what I consider three major sculptures for the year as well as some smaller projects and experiments which are still on going. I have made a large scale dresser with audio, a tall slender wall section with a projection and a fireplace/mantle with photos of the past.

Device to call to you is the first of the three. Some of you may remember back to the summer when I posted about my fascination with whale calls and animal communication as a major point of interest in my research. Well it has manifested itself into this piece. Of course its, not about whales, or water, or oceans, or… wait…stay with me here it is however about communication and calls. But not whale calls human calls.

I’ve been building this dresser structure for several months, and the plan became to personify the object to call to another human being. I installed 20 speakers into the 5 ‘drawers’ ranging from high pitch tweeters to low pitch woofers. I stretched Tyvek over the surface of each hiding the speakers. Then the final stage, make and record human calls. I went into the warehouse space below/next to Hub-Bub and called away. Great echoes and acoustics down there by the way.

So you must be asking at this point, “what do you human calls sound like?” Well, think about how animals communicate, no words just sounds. I got myself to a mental state of thinking about how I would try to call to someone if I had no words to use, but to call out in a series of repetitive wails. I essentially ended up with 6 various calls. Three similar low pitch and three similar high pitch. I edited all of this down and created an audio track that plays a call each minute, leaving me with an approximate 6 and half minute looping track which plays through the speakers, vibrating the Tyvek at certain moments.

I do not want to be desensitized to the notion you are not around is the second work. (I know, long title.) This one all started with my experience of the air filter in my HVAC system in my apartment. When the AC or heat would kick on, the air vent would suck the filter back, and then it would slowly drop and release when it shut off. Many people asked why I didn’t just adjust the filter, tape it down, or fix it, man that must get annoying. In some ways, it was, but there was something about it. It was the personification of my apartment as a living being, it was the apartments long slow breaths, showing me it was still there.

I kept thinking about this in terms of relationships. I think a good relationship is somewhat like the air filter. No matter who you are with, you will eventually notice things you love about that person, and things that annoy you about that person. The key is accepting all of them, and at that point you know its right because you can accept them for who they are. Yes, sometimes, it can be annoying (the air filter or the person), but you will miss it when its not there.

So this is the result of that thinking. I recreated a section of wall that appears to be from my apartment with the same paint color, and floor molding. And then there’s a scale projection of the air vent in a one minute loop on the wall, with audio and all. It’s not meant to annoying, but just to help us be more aware of our everyday surroundings, and hopefully helping us realize not to take our relationships for granted, even when they aren’t perfect, just like that air vent.

The third major piece completed is Mantle. I began with a wall stud structure and re-created a wooden mantle section left behind in my apartment to work off of. I made myself a pink foam mantle/fireplace. The idea of the mantle and fireplace is such a strong architectural element in the home for me personally. I grew up with a house with a fireplace and mantle above it. This may not be the case for everyone, but there is such an interesting sense of nostalgia for me, as well as a strong idea of the ‘family hearth’ or main gathering place happening around the fireplace.

With this romanticized autobiographical notion, I retrieved photographs of the house I grew up in from my uncle.  The photographs were of the house being built. I made a series of photo transfer prints to be mounted on small panels, and placed on the mantle. Rather than the pictures of the family growing up, as was on the mantle at home growing up, I chose to personify the home I lived in, and show the house ‘growing up’ as it was built. Nothing more romanticized the notion of the family gathering place more than the idea of my father, grandfather, and uncle building the place I would spend 20 years growing up in.

So with these three new pieces plus some older work and smaller work, I packed up a rental trailer, and drove to Tallahassee. Not on a whim of course, but I have a solo show opportunity lined up there. Which was another reason to finish and follow through with these new ideas.

So the three new works as well as some other older and smaller works are hanging out in Tallahassee, FL for the month of February at 621 Gallery. I spend several days down there this past weekend installing the show, having an opening reception, and meeting some really great artists and people. Here’s a shot from the gallery:

And don’t worry. Some of this work will be in the exit show here at HUB-BUB. Plus I am still tinkering a way in the studio with more experiments. I leave that for another post, but it does feel good to have some work completed!




Filed under Artists-in-Residence, Ron Longsdorf (10-11)

3 responses to “Studio progress and Tallahassee excursions

  1. Kari

    It’s so fascinating to hear your explanations of the sculptures. Human calls, relationships, and the birth of a house…so cool. I’m very interested in our relationship to our homes, too, so Mantle and I do not want… are especially interesting.

    Go, Ron!

  2. Pingback: Accumulation and Culmination «

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