The Potency of Objects
A Sculptural Installation by Kevin Greeland
OBR Gallery Space, 3817 Ray Street, San Diego, CA 92104
November 10 –December 5, 2012
Opening Reception November 10th (Ray at Night) 6pm-10pm.
This mixed media sculptural installation consists of 48 photographic prints mounted on wood panels that are 6 x 8 inches. The photographs were adhered to the panels using acrylic encaustic. There are also 48 bottle containers. The bottles are decorated with beading using Swarovski glass crystals, glass beads, other bottles are covered with crocheted caps, and still other bottles are combinations of beading, ribbon and knot work. All the bottles are setting on a wooden table approximately 40 inches long and about 40 inches high and about 12 inches wide.
The Potency of Objects
(Some general thoughts about the show and a little background for this work and the others sculptures and prints that were in the show.)
I use found materials, perhaps not so much as found but more like odd items that are intentional sought out. These materials, these “things” become the springboard for investigating the social and emotional life of objects. In mining the history of objects, I use the relationship of the object to the body. I mold, cast and alter the objects to explore issues of authenticity, replication, consumption, value, status and identity. This investigation continues with a debate between the real and the simulated. I’m interested in opposing tendencies — authentic and artificial, real and fabricated. For me it’s important to investigate both sides of the possibilities.
As an artist I have a cross-disciplinary practice, working across media boundaries. I create using sculpture, installation, photography, and printmaking. I approach everything from an object “hood” point of view. The intrigue is the indistinct boundary between the art object and an ordinary object, things that aren’t intended to be art. With painting, printmaking and photography, the boundary is more obvious, so the role of the viewer follows conventional trajectories, concerned with visual or intellectual process. With sculpture (sculptural installations), there is an address to the body that triggers a general consideration of the physical world.
Much of my work has been about the home, the house as a place, creating facsimiles and reproductions of shelters, and everyday objects in the homes and occasionally clothing. Also the process of investigating opposing tendencies helps create new ideas — in the process of entertaining contradiction, new insights emerge, insights that are often obscured by the tension of opposing ideas. The other process that helps shake things out is a manipulation of narrative. For me narrative enables a belief. If an account flows without interruption, it’s easy for a premise to become an assumption, like a truth. If the story or narrative becomes confusing or inconclusive, you can’t relax into the obvious sequence of events. For that particular reason, I like mixing real objects with the fabricated objects —it helps me and I believe the viewer to explore the range of possible confusions.
I like working with discarded boxes, containers of sorts, glass jars and wooden bowls, discarded bottles—they are service objects, usually overlooked in favor of what they are carrying—these types of containers have complicated lives (this applies to the house as container as well). I like that they start out with a veneer of glamor, but it’s thin and gets worn away by use. When this use is over, it’s hard to remember that they once had allure. Plus with sculpture, there’s the problem of how to show these “things” so the discarded container servers yet again in a gallery setting that was unimagined in its origin. The container as object and as a display mechanism helps with the struggle between the phenomenological and the referential as well. Ideally I want the first and most abiding encounter with the art to be through the body. I don’t like to talk about meaning because if I elaborate on a meaning at the beginning, it would preempt what the viewer is willing to imagine with the object before them, to the extent that the experiences of looking eclipses the original meaning. In the words of poet William Carlos Williams “No ideas but in things. *”
*From the 1944 poem A Sort of a Song.
A few more photographs from the set-up.