A blog by Bradley Phillips

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kinetic Sculpture

I am blind. How have I not been aware of it before. I stumbled upon it quite accidentally. This past weekend I had the pleasure to visit the wonderful city of Boston Massachusetts. A beautiful place rich in history and heritage. During my stay I went to the MIT Museum, attracted by their Robots and Beyond exhibit (surprise, surprise) and a Holography exhibit. What I did not expect was their ongoing Arthur Ganson exhibition. While the robotics and holograms were fun, Arthur's work was practically a visual revelation for me. I literally felt as though someone slapped me in the face and peeled back my eyelids at the same time. Everything that has been on my mind, retro-futurism, utopia, man vs. machine, the revolutionary sublime, cultural dystopia etc.... All questions I had been asking in my own work he presents within his sculptures.

For a long time now I have been very connected with the building and preparing of the objects that I photograph. This infatuation has become in many ways more important then the image it self. This concept of moving sculpture as art has opened my eyes to the artistic value in sculpture its self. One in which, to be honest, I had placed little value.

Each photograph is a link to the video to several Kinetic Sculptures each having their own set of strengths. Arthur Ganson’s work is complex and delicate. Tim Prentince’s work is fluid and organic. And Theo Jansen is pure brilliance, and almost unbelievable. Watch them in order for the greatest impact.

When I get the time I fully intent on attempting to create a machine for sculptures sake.

Here is a longer video on Theo Jansen

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Uta Barth

I just finished reading an interview of Uta Barth by Matthew Higgs from the book pressPlay: Contemporary Artists in Conversation. Uta's work is very different from my own, so at first I found it difficult to relate or even understand her intentions. Her images consist of mostly of empty spaces both interior and exterior. Other recurring elements are soft light and out of focus images. One cant help but get the immediate feeling of seclusion and desolation. Despite Uta's direct denial of this as the intent of the images, even Matthew Higgs couldn't help but recognize a viewers natural tendency to pull visceral emotion out of the images.

On further discussion and review, I started to understand Uta's desire to merely use the image as a optical device. The photograph for her becomes an object, one in which has meaning much like a old shirt. Her images document a time and place for her, and by forcing the images out of focus she is attempting to alienate the viewer into a imposed detachment from the who, what and where. This for me creates an effect much like a Color Field, and Minimalism painting. Loose forms and modeled color blur the lines between the actual and notional. I would love to hear anyones thoughts on her work and what you get out of it.

My favorite part of the entire conversation was her comment (talking about the notion that her work attempts to embrace some similarities of paintings) “I am not very sure about any enterprise of making a photograph that would somehow aspire to the look and conditions of a painting. This implies a curious hierarchy of painting as a ‘higher’ art than photography, and seems absolutely idiotic to me.”