Thursday, December 16, 2010

concrete softness.

I have been enjoying looking at simple, more minimal work this week. Maybe because my daily life is so not "simple." Anyhow, Joanna Mattera has been writing about her experience visiting all the art fairs down in Miami and I have had a few of the works that connect to fiber catch my eye. This work by Christopher Astley was some of it.

Christopher take "bags" and fills them with concrete, allowing the concrete to expand and change the original forms. He then paints the resulting objects in a pseudo minimalist and pseudo abstract-expressionist style. His work is an interesting mix of influences and references.

oh, the color palette is so gorgeous.

His website says:
Each of the individual cast elements that he creates add to the particular vernacular of the overall form - the stacked wall takes shape as holes and spaces are filled with painted forms that are on hand or with new bags that are sewn quickly before concrete dries. The process is sometimes a kind of triage where decisions are made urgently to fill immediate needs. Bags burst and need to be sewn by hand with large sewing needles forcing their way through cement-saturated material. Wet heavy bags are gingerly leaned and stacked - vulnerable until they cure. The wall's overall needs supersede preconceived aesthetic considerations - design is drowned in a flood of necessity. Everything is up for grabs - favorite forms are sacrificed to a more ham-fisted whole. The element of chance is welcomed; the working process is a matter of adventure and discovery.

I really like the organic shapes and off kilter balance of the pieces. They reference so many things such as a large pile of luggage, sandbag walls used to slow flooding, a pile of rubbish from a disaster, junk in a rural yard, or pillow forts from childhood. I can experience the work in so many diverse ways as I imagine walking around it.

I have always loved the shape of pillows and have thought of doing a series of concrete pillows for years and looking at these shapes reminds me how compelling it is to see a soft object made hard.

See more of Christopher's work here.

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