Thursday, March 20, 2014

Children's Book Inspiration

The illustrations from The Magic Key call to mind some of my first abstract memories as a child.  
I remember seeing these illustrations in the early 80's.  I wasn't aware that these drawings would have such a profound affect on my artwork. 

The influence that this illustration has had on my work is evident when looking at Sex with Spiders.
Andrew J. McCauley, Sex With Spiders, Intaglio with Chine-Collé, 2012.

Nightmarish imagery that continues to haunt my dreams.

Canon, CCAD, Canzani Gallery-2013


Behind the Wall: Part IV

Finalized installation including vinyl forms that mimic the projected shadows.

Finalized installation with spectators to show scale.

Canon (Video Still 1)

Canon (Video Still 2)

Canon (Video Still 3)

Rear-projected animation through the canvas.

Canon (Detail)

McCauley Family

Interstellar Formaldehyde 

John Kortlander installing the drywall.

John Kortlander installing the drywall.

Building the wall.

John Kortlander checking the measurements.

Behind the Wall: Part III

Melting plastic to build the rotating sculpture.
Positioning the sculpture behind the stretched canvas.

Mirrored and clear plexiglass, wood and rotating device.

The reflections from the animated projection mimic the vinyl forms on the gallery wall.

Calculating the exact placement of the projection, light and reflections coming through the painting.

Rotating sculpture behind the painting.

Masking off areas of the painting much like photo dodging techniques

Revolving reflections appear to be coming out of the painting (Behind the canvas).

"Secret" room behind the painting.

Rotating sculpture with rear-projection behind the painting.

Behind the Wall: Part II

After stretching the muslin, I began organizing the work space by setting up the lighting units and a painting table.  I began cutting out fabric forms and placing them on top of the muslin, much like constructing a puzzle.  Using fabric allows me to map out the composition one layer at a time without having to paint directly on to the canvas.  I'm able to develop the painting's layout by experimenting with shape, color and texture.  Once I've settled on the underlying design, I'll begin filling in the forms with actual paint and medium. 

Working with Golden Acrylics allows for a faster drying time.  Acrylics are not only helpful for a consistent work flow, but also helps with the process of layering and building up paint surfaces.  I'm able to work much faster and cover a much larger surface area rather than worrying about working into wet paint.  Adding matte and gloss mediums to the pigments give the work a physical juxtaposition and extend the life of the paint.  

Essentially, Canon is a symbol for a body form fighting off intruders that eventually devour it's host.  These "intruders" are formalized as snake-like creatures, methodically taking bites out of the Canon body.  The emphasis in this piece is the nightgown form, which is present in much of my work.  The nightgown form has wheels, referencing an artillery cannon fighting off the impending creatures that surround it.  The rainbow forms inside the nightgown figure represent a transformation and refers to the dilapidation of mobility.  Color bands inside the nightgown symbolize transmutation, memory and mobility loss, and ultimately ascension.


Behind the Wall: Part I

Building a 14' x 9' canvas can be challenging, but when you add a 15' wall between you and the gallery space, things become nearly impossible.  Before we started stretching the muslin, we had to transport all of the supplies in to the actual work space.  That included wood, painting supplies, lights, extension chords, power tools, hand saws and pales of fresh water.  I even smuggled in a microwave oven and a coffee maker.  Access inside the room was very difficult, so once you're down there, you're down there for a while.  This "secret" room would prove to be my home for the next 3 months.  John and I installed safety bars on the top of each wall, allowing us to hoist ourselves over the ladder, making it a little easier to get in and out.  Once the area was free from debris we could begin stretching the canvas.  We didn't want any nails or dirt affecting the surface of the muslin, so we were very meticulous about cleaning the floor. 

Michael Goodson was kind enough to give me full access to the Canzani Gallery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I would teach and attend thesis class from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m, and at night I would paint.  Painting in a "secret" room in the middle of the night brought a sense of tranquility to the work.  I was able to really think about the painting.  I was able to work automatically, without any inhibition or insecurity.  I was able to assess my work with confidence and actually reflect on what I was building.  In essence, this would be one of the most important pieces I had built thus far.  

My mother had passed away in January.  I started the construction process that very week.  Although the idea of Canon was already there, I was able to work through the shitstorm of emotions much more easily than I would have anywhere else.  Canon would be my memorial to her.  I knew that no matter how the installation came out, it would be monumental.  I began with the canvas.      
Setting up the lights.

Organizing the room.

Cutting down the stretcher bars.

The wall separating us from the gallery.

Building the stretcher bars.

John Kortlander

Getting in and out.

Stretching the muslin.

Andrew J. McCauley

Freshly stretched muslin.