The work of Paul Manship and other artists from the Art Deco movement helped me to conceive and shape the works I produced for the exhibit From Starfield to MARS: Paul Manship and His Artistic Legacy. This exhibit is on view at the Addison Gallery in Andover, MA September 15, 2018 – January 20, 2019.
One of the pleasures of doing this commission came with learning about a period that I did not know much about before- Beyond Art Deco my research spread over to earlier art styles that influenced artists during this period such as The Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau and the Bauhaus. Further looking led me to consider Navajo weaving, African sculpture, Tibetan Mandalas and other art forms that were powerful material to many artists in Manship’s generation. In my case I hungrily mashed up many of these historical styles to come up with what I am showing here.
In my oblique response to Manship I tried try to come up with something I had not made before. My photographic constructions use Cliché Verge techniques -applying ink on glass to draw patterns and shapes much like Corot and Millet did in the 19thcentury. In my pictures, I used plants, geometrical designs and painting .I digitally scanned these glass plates to come up with the large prints you see here. In a couple of pictures I made use of photograms, the earliest and simplest photographic technique that Fox Talbot and Anna Atkins came up with in the 1840’s. I should say that, apart from the digital scanning, all of the works shown were hand shaped and drawn –this way of working allowed me to feel a tactile pleasure usually not present in the photographic process.
Many artists look back to older art for ideas, and inspiration, my images benefited from doing just that. Guided by pictorial ideas of pattern and design from the popular art of the 1920’s and 1930’s inspired me to create these new decorative pieces grounded in formal experimentation, invention and abstraction.