Monday, November 14, 2016

Cut, Paste, and Scale

Not being able to visualize an art project motivates me as an artist.

I was mulling over different ways to render the hyperbolic paraboloid after creating 30-8” models in bamboo last winter. 

An early version, bamboo, 12"

Hyperbolic Paraboloid in a Cube, bamboo & acrylic paint, 8"

4 Hyperbolic Paraboloids in combination 

I liked the idea of building the artwork rather than simply continuing to render it by drawing or painting the image.  I settled on using drywall tape to create a piece.  It costs about a penny a foot and it won’t wrinkle when painted.  How would it weave together to build that torqued grid of the hyperbolic paraboloid?  

"Hyperbolic Paraboloid with Equations", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 7"  ©  James Thatcher  2016

It didn’t!  
It became a surprise braid instead. 

Drywall tape sketch, 48" x 24"

Here’s a brief time lapse video of an early take on the project.  Notice the shaped canvas in the background.  Ideas to extend the original concept are already underway. 

The braid image has some issues as a focus project because it’s simply too big at 48” across.  What size makes sense?  How would you present it?  Mounted on a plywood panel?  Pinned to the wall?  As shaped canvas paintings? 

Exploring the range of sizes from ¾ scale to 1/8 scale offered many possibilities but presentation was still an issue.  The 1/3 scale seems best as it yields a finished piece of 16” x 8” which can be effective as an individual unit.  Combining pieces still maintains a manageable size.

Scale comparison, full size to 1/3 scale
I can mount these to sheets of paper or float them in simple metal frames.  I could laminate them and suspend them because both sides are different.  

Front side of braid, gesso on drywall tape, 16" x 8"

Back side

4 braids in combination, gesso on drywall tape, 16" x 16"
Lots of Possibilities!

You know how caterers make spiraling stacks of napkins? It seemed like a simple presentation but that project held a surprise.  Here's a 30 second time lapse video of the effort (I really like the soundtrack):

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