Exhibition of 3 large chandelier-like structures, based on 19th-century engraved images by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel, made of transparent silicone rubber. Hosfelt Gallery, New York, November 2006 This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body
Exhibition of 3 large chandelier-like structures, based on 19th-century engraved images by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel, made of transparent silicone rubber. Hosfelt Gallery, New York, November 2006
The 3 works are based on the 19th-Century German zoologist Ernst Haeckel's engravings of medusae (the Greek word for jellyfish). As images themselves, they're strongly suggestive of some sort of organic chandeliers or lighting . Of great inspiration were Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka exquisitely wrought, tiny glass marine specimens, which include jellyfish, within the collection of the Harvard Natural History Museum.
Using a scaled up 2-D pattern, I made the initial forms in clay, from which I made 2-part plaster molds, then cast each form in polyurethane rubber. There are about 800 pieces of individual pieces of rubber in total, stitched together with monofilament. The rubber forms are suspended by an armature made of copper tubing. The works radiates light by internal lighting fixtures.
All 3 works took about a year and a half to make. I made most of the forms and molds whilst on a 7-month residency at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. During that winter I read Herman Melville's Moby Dick, which at times seemed as interminable as a New England winter. Especially the 10-page comparison of the "whiteness of the whale"... Somehow, engaged in the construction of my own behemoth, and the not so thin veiling of homoerotic longing, helped keep me aboard the Pequod.
Medusa and Stheno, were shown at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, as part of the exhibition "Andy & Oz, co-curated by the National Gallery of Australia in 2007. Subsequently, Stheno was acquired by National Gallery in Canberra. Medusa also traveled to Australia to be part of "Optimism", an exhibition of 60 Australian artists at GoMA in Brisbane in 2008.