Process: Shifting the Shells

The Shell/Shield show is up, and opens tomorrow. My inner landscape is shifting towards the next project: the as-yet untitled show at Zendo Coffee (thank you, Pilar!). I have three larger projects planned for this show: the Wall Fungus, Coleoptera, and the Kalachakra. 

The Wall Fungus piece I developed last winter, using paperclay semi-circles. This piece is complete, I believe, from production (I’ve got 45 Fungi) through mounting system (right-angle hooks screwed into the abundant and already extant anchors on Zendo’s gorgeous brick walls) and mounting strategy (a swarm). 

Coleoptera is a collection of the Shells I’ve been making over the past two months. The piece is designed as a kind of anthropological, taxonomical display of these objects as specimens; as a collection of once-living organisms, now arranged for view. In production terms, I’ve got more than enough Shells; all are through armature and plaster stages, and most are well-finished in acrylic. I have a lingering question about the paint scheme to resolve, and I’m quite close as far as the taxonomic arrangement is concerned.

The Kalachakra is thus far a group of overlapping ideas about a large, empty wall-mounted sculpture of a ring, or circle; a series of repeated gestures/objects that form an astrological calendar, a symbol of the endless turning of embodied time, a teaching on awareness and its pitfalls. I would like viewers to have those references as they sit with the piece, but I’m unsure about the name. And many other things. 

Mucking about with extant materials, half-finished Shell forms, and my first exploration of a Circle, I found myself looking for textural and tonal contrasts. It felt liberating to stuff things in the apertures of the Shells that have so often seemed like mouths, and to see that in relationship to new and contrasting materials, the “mouth” can become more of a kind of organic plumbing–a valve, a bone’s foramen.  

The search for contrasts seems like a potent motivator for me. Interesting.

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