Abel Contemporary Gallery Group Show: Pattern, June 4th – July 18th , 2021
The idea of Pattern covers a wide range of possibilities. For this group show I thought about the way I work and my pattern of thinking and behaving as I create. I thought about patterns that are used as templates to transfer information to another material in order to make parts, and pattern as repetition of forms that characterize a surface and or identify a substance. This group of pieces involve one or several of these ideas.
Emerging Pattern is about my working methods. In this piece I'm suggesting that ideas emerge from some unclear place and begin to take shape which they do for me. Specifically I work out ideas and create drawings and models that help further advance and clarify a sculptural possibility. It's a process of successive approximation. I make paper birds as a sort of mental exercise forcing myself to think from flat to volumetric by making patterns that I assemble - cutting, pivoting, curling, and gluing the flat pattern pieces forcing them to wrap around space and become volumetric vessels. I glue parts together to create more complex shapes. Inevitably I leave in my creative wake sketches and tracings and remnants of my process. In emerging pattern I've created a collage of some parts that helped me reach my end which was a paper broadwing hawk. You can see what my birds look like here.
In the natural world the shape of things is determined by organizing principles and repetition is not mechanical. It is instead organic with the repetition of similar but not identical forms. Our recognition of things in nature is based on pattern recognition but within a range of possibilities that distinguish one set of things from another. My Wave Train piece presents pattern without strict repetition but there is a unifying idea of wave pattern and surface pattern that both tells us what we are seeing but also something about wind direction and the nature of the body of water. I'm fascinated by both the complexity of wave and water information and the idea of finding simple ways to address this. You can see some of my explorations here.
The Water Shedding Fern is the Maidenhair. It's genus name means water shedding and all maidenhairs follow the pattern of shedding water as well as in having distinctively organized fronds that identify them to those of us who recognize their growth pattern. There are repetitive qualities to things in nature but with individual distinction within a group. This is a profound idea when you find yourself thinking "they all look the same".
My piece Wave Pattern: Copy, Cut & Assemble, Repeat gives a nod to our simple brains while pretending to understand the complexity of the repeated forms we see in waves. You can construct a wave from this pattern and you could repeat the process to arrange a set of waves but the end result while perhaps appealing would look mechanical and unnatural. Humans tend to create models as stand-ins for complex ideas. Representing a wave as repeatable identical shapes may be helpful in understanding wave behavior but it is not accurate. You can see some of my three dimensional paper wave ideas here.