Sculpture, Shadows and Designing for Light

Sculpture, Shadows and Designing for Light

Stabile_01The former base for Galaxy No. 3 has transformed itself into my first stabile… The lines of the piece really work, which, in an odd way, made it
difficult deciding how to finish this sculpture. Every time I looked at
it, I like it from multiple angles and just wasn’t sure which way it
worked best. I liked them all. I had thought it might wind up supporting a small mobile, but suddenly I looked up and it was "just right." Knowing when to stop is sometimes the most important part of improv sculpture.

I love the way it strikes the attitude of a spunky bulldog throwing it’s chest out. My cat Mojo takes exactly that pose when she’s deeply annoyed with me…

During the last few years, I’ve put a lot of time and thought into creating linework sculptures that anticipate movement— dancers that broadcast the movement they are about to make, etc. This is the first piece I’ve done in large flat planes that has the same feel. You can see it leaning forward although the middle plane is actually perfect level. It only looks like it’s leaning. Partly that’s a trick of the design, partly it’s a function of the camera angle. But then, the camera’s angle is more or less the same as that of a normal viewer. So what you are seeing in these pics is probably about the same thing you’d see in real life, minus the pleasure of being able to actually examine the work from different angles and distances in the time it takes to tilt your head or take a few steps.

The real treat came when I was photographing it. As I moved around to shoot different angles I started to notice the ways the shadow of the sculpture interacted with the form. Wow. I’d never really thought much about designing for the way light hits a piece, but I will definitely play with the idea in the future. From one angle, the shadow provides a perfect mirror reflection of the piece, as though it were on glass or still water… From other angles, the shadow elongates, foreshortens, distorts, each time multiplying the various ideas of the sculpture that could have been, or could be, revealing other possible forms. Very interesting… And, of course, the shadow changes throughout the day as the sund moves. Kind of makes me want to try a sundial…


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