Abstract Critical

Gibbons / Walker / Warren

Written by John Gibbons, Corban Walker, Michael Warren

 

John Gibbons: L-R: Africa, stainless steel, varnished, 52.5 x 37.5 x 32 cm; Not Ever Knowing, stainless steel, varnished, 118 x 26.5 x 29 cm; House, stainless steel, varnished, 38 x 23 x 22.5 cm

John Gibbons: L-R: Africa, stainless steel, varnished, 52.5 x 37.5 x 32 cm; Not Ever Knowing, stainless steel, varnished, 118 x 26.5 x 29 cm; House, stainless steel, varnished, 38 x 23 x 22.5 cm

John Gibbons

abstract critical: Can you describe work you will be installing at Hillsboro Fine Art?

JG: Yet to be decided – three sculptures, Africa, 2009-10, House, 2012-13 & Not Ever Knowing, 2012-13 (all stainless steel) will form the core around which drawing/s and wall based sculpture may be placed.

ac: How does it relate to your previous or recent concerns?

JG: It is a continuum.

John Gibbons: Africa; Not Ever Knowing; House

John Gibbons: Africa; Not Ever Knowing; House

ac: Do you make abstract art?

JG: I make sculpture and drawing.

ac: Is a distinction between sculpture, architecture & installation relevant to your art?

JG: It all has to work – I take inspiration from all three and where ever.

 

Corban Walker, Untitled 19, 2014, acrylic, steel rod, zinc plated nut, 22 x 28 x 28.5 cm

Corban Walker, Untitled 19, 2014, acrylic, steel rod, zinc plated nut, 22 x 28 x 28.5 cm

Corban Walker

ac: Can you describe the work you will be installing at Hillsboro Fine Art?

CW: There are three new small acrylic sculptures and some small drawings. The work derives from on an ongoing exploration of transparent materials to create sculptures that navigate a conditioned site from a conditioned stature (Achondroplasia) and from a height of 129 centimetres. The installation aims to re-evaluate scale for a wider audience. With the sculptures, I combine an organization of rules with my own physical orientation. Mathematical rules express a study of variables in some condensed formations, while deliberately addressing modes of assemblage.

ac: How does it relate to your previous or recent concerns?

CW: It relates to my dedication to drawing, sculpture and installation, where I challenge our judgment of scale by questioning the conventions that engineering and architecture has on our capacity to articulate our living and work environments. Up to now, I’ve worked with the viewer or a given space to present my orientation, while embracing concepts of minimalism. I study how we, as inhabitants of a limited design modular relate to structures and I endeavor to offer a unique delineation of thought. I use specific local and cultural philosophies to encourage viewers to reexamine the way they conceptualize, navigate, and interact with their surroundings. The work is marked by considered shifts in proportion and balance and distinguished by a diverse use of materials.

Corban Walker, Untitled 48, 2014, acrylic, 15.2 x 20.3 x 28 cm; Untitled 1240, 2014, ink on paper, 40.6 x 40.6 cm

Corban Walker, Untitled 48, 2014, acrylic, 15.2 x 20.3 x 28 cm; Untitled 1240, 2014, ink on paper, 40.6 x 40.6 cm

ac: Do you make abstract art?

CW: Yes, with a presence of architectural concerns while engaging the viewer to articulate their own environs.

ac: Is a distinction between sculpture, architecture & installation relevant to your art?

CW: They are all interwoven to some extent, sometimes quite densely, other times not so much. While I’m still working with components of repetition, transparency and the grid, the work has just recently started to lean towards more multifaceted assemblages. I’m beginning a process of creating layered sculptures and temporary installations that hide and partially reveal another structure within the sculptures to the viewer. I’m interested in the idea of searching for a possible archaeological element in the installation or an indication that something else has been present. This path may also ask how the work will evolve further more. It suggests that the structures are in between, beyond departure and where an arrival point has yet to be determined. For instance the coordinates of the sculptures are physically present within the architecture but the orientation of how to locate them may be somewhat elusive. Combining the drawings and sculptures together for this show will be an interesting trial for further development.

 

Michael Warren: L-R: Company, 2014, pine, steel, woven wire mesh, 196.5 x 138 x 37 cm; Fata Morgana, 2014, pine, steel, woven wire mesh, 202 x 136 x 26 cm

Michael Warren: L-R: Company, 2014, pine, steel, woven wire mesh, 196.5 x 138 x 37 cm; Fata Morgana, 2014, pine, steel, woven wire mesh, 202 x 136 x 26 cm

Michael Warren

abstract critical: Can you describe work you will be installing at Hillsboro Fine Art?

MW: Two independent screen-like structures, each comprising a system of steel tightening bolts that serve to stretch and tense rectangular expanses of 4-ply woven wire mesh within a timber framework of pitch pine, will stand in an apparently randomly selected position in the first room of the gallery. In actuality, the placement and orientation of the two pieces will be in strict deference to the source of natural light entering the room (the window), to the room itself, its dimensions and the fact that it (the room) must be traversed in order to access the adjoining rooms of the gallery.

In the case of Fata Morgana, a double and a twin wire mesh bed frame, are joined back-to-back and stood up vertically. The overlapping grills of metal latticework from the two beds now read as a single entity, the threaded steel pins and horizontal wooden tension bars being closest to the ground. The structure is supported in this position by a plain painted timber plinth or stand. The other structure, Company, is similarly structured, though here the joined mattress frames are both double bed size.

The suspension of these woven mesh screens, one in front of the other, within the wooden frames, causes an optical illusion, an impression of pulsating star bursts, a sort of visual energy triggered by patterns of light that appear to continuously decompose and recompose.

ac: How does it relate to your previous or recent concerns?

MW: In a major exhibition shown at Limerick City Gallery of Art earlier this year, I made an entirely new body of work in which timber stele-like forms were suspended from tracking rails that were, in turn, attached to the roof of outer, free-standing steel frame structures. The intention behind these works was to heighten awareness of the space encompassed by the steel frames. I became increasingly interested in the role of the frame in this investigation: it appeared that, whereas the hanging timber elements determined a downward, gravitational reading, the frame from which they hung acted, as it were, like a halo giving the vulnerable timber elements a raised status and sense of uplift. The stele forms, rather than just hanging, now appeared to float or hover between upward and downward forces. The effect of this visual paradox of weight and levity – being ‘held in the balance’ – was to evoke an almost palpable sense of presence within the frames.

In this latter respect, Fata Morgana and Company relate to recent preoccupations. They are otherwise somewhat oblique to my mainstream concerns.

Michael Warren, No Pasaran, machined aluminium, h. 19.5 cm

Michael Warren, No Pasaran, machined aluminium, h. 19.5 cm

ac: Do you make abstract art?

MW: The greater part of the work I have made over 40 years may be regarded as abstract or, more precisely, as geometric abstraction. There are however instances of deviation as in the cases of Fata Morgana and Company in which the assertion to pure abstraction is quite tenuous.  Though the illusion of movement by the precise use of pattern or in which conflicting patterns emerge and overlap, has long been recognized as a form of abstract art (cf. the Optical Art of, say, François Morellet, Julio Le Parc, Antonio Asis), for these particular works the term partial abstraction would seem to be a more fitting description given the inclusion of ‘found’ objects and use of readily identifiable forms. (In both sculptures the wire mesh beds have been structurally modified. Their designation and relocation also constituting a modification of the original objects, thus changing our perception of their utility and status.)

ac: Is a distinction between sculpture, architecture & installation relevant to your art?

MW: The boundaries separating sculpture and architecture and to a degree, installation, have over the past century become increasingly blurred. It is fascinating to note how many sculptors of international renown received their initial training in architecture rather than in Fine Art. There is an abundance of very sculptural architecture as there is an abundance of very architectural sculpture. I regard the interflow between these sibling disciplines with enormous interest, indeed a source of great creative impetus.

  1. Patrick Jones said…

    Congratulations for the excellent review of the show in The Irish Times by Aidan Dunne .This really helped me to imagine experiencing the work in space in the gallery .There response to the question of Abstraction was very interesting.

    • John Daly said…

      Thank you Patrick Jones for your kind words about the gallery, great to have the support of The Irish Times for this exhibition too. A slight error in your piece on the current show is that it is of course Michael (not George!) Warren. Thank you Abstract Critical for this excellent platform, continued success with all.

  2. Patrick Jones said…

    I would love to see this show.I would love to wander in on a saturday morning and appreciate the quality of invention in John Gibbons and George Warren sculptures.These artists I have met and have very high regard for,experiencing their sculptures.I would enjoy meeting Walkers work for the first time.Not living in Ireland makes this impossible ,but realise what an important international gallery John Daly runs.Having shown there recently ,I can only describe his enthusiasm for his artists as absolutely unique,his attitude of inclusion toward his public exemplary.Go and see it if you can!

  3. John Daly said…

    Refreshingly open, articulate comments from the three artists here, but of course experiencing these works (as indeed with all art) firsthand is a must. This Dublin gallery has three spaces/rooms and in each we are confronted with something very special and quite different from each other. The most easily made distinction is in the choice of materials the artists have chosen. On entering the gallery we first encounter Warren’s tall bed-like structures, which act as a sort of entrance or gateway to what follows. Ancient pitch pine, torn and distressed steel, tautness and tension inform these two works’ dramatic presence. The second space is occupied by three works in stainless steel by Gibbons. One of these pieces, House, is clearly a sort of architectural structure, with the other two more ‘abstract’; however, all three works have an anthropomorphic feel aided no doubt by their placement on the footed crates in which they were shipped to Ireland. There are three drawings in brightly coloured inks and acrylic on paper and melinex that further reflect (literally) this artist’s concerns with light and surface. The third space in the gallery is flooded with natural light from large windows on two sides; this works very well with Walker’s magnificent structures in acrylic. These sculptures though rigorous in architectural form and concept, belie in some ways such description as they are at the same time light, joyous and uplifting structures. Walker too includes a selection of works on paper in colour and metallic inks that also share similar concerns and mood.

    Surprisingly given the very different ways and indeed locations (Gibbons in East London, Warren in rural southern Ireland and Walker in New York) in which these three artists work, there are a number of clear links in the sculptures both physically and conceptually that make this show flow seamlessly.