Friday, July 25, 2014

Fungible Assets

This is where the split pig resin casts have ended up. I have also cast a couple with purple and gold and may do some more yet. 

Following on from the comments I received at the Sculptors Queensland exhibition I've been thinking pretty hard about naming my work. I really appreciate Dr Campbell Gray's criticism of my Pink Trotter casting, though I also accept, there will be times I should ignore it. But I don't think this is one of them. I have decided to call all these pieces FUNGIBLE ASSETS with a suffix of GOLD or RUBY depending on their appearance.

I was looking up the meaning of the word Fiduciary and came across Fungible. It makes me wish I had studied economics. Maybe it's not to late. Then I think, F#@K IT, if I try to learn one more thing I'll pop. But anyway, for those who don't know, a fungible asset is one that is perfectly interchangeable with another asset of the same value. If I loaned you a dollar coin and you gave me a completely different dollar coin in return, that would be OK because dollar coins are fungible. If I loaned you my 2014 Mercedes SLR coupe (which I don't have by the way) and you returned a 1968 Datsun Sunny 1000 that would not be OK. 

While they are both cars and function in fundamentally the same way, those items are not Fungible. These little split piggies represent consumers, average people, just like you and me. We buy stuff, eat junk, watch crap on TV and generally can be relied on to keep doing just that. Any one of us is just as good as the other, as long as we keep doing exactly what we are already doing.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bullets and Barrels Revisited

I've had these plaster casts of stuff hanging around for a long time now. In the back of my mind was an idea to split them and arrange them in a circular pattern, mould them and cast them as some kind of wall hanging mandala. The picture in my mind was of one of those 1970's wall clocks that sit in the middle of radiating timber spokes like the rays of the sun. But once I started laying them out I had a better idea. Each element is part of a kit requiring assembly. In the kit is everything you need to take control, build a career, manage a business, run a country. Spray a few bullets, drop a few bombshells, disguise it as best practice, remember you're only responsible to the shareholders and don't forget to map out your exit strategy.

I made some virtual models of pieces I might like to physically make, then, thinking pretty hard about context, I overlaid the rendered images onto screen shots ripped from a video I took on a construction site a few years ago. The construction business is pretty f#@king adversarial at times. There have certainly been projects where I felt I was under assault in the last twenty years. Stooges get promotions and careers get crushed under the maneuvers of big builders, international consulting firms and government agencies covering their asses.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pink Trotter - Highly Commended

Last Friday night was the opening of the 2014 Sculptors Queensland Annual Exhibition and Shillam Prize. Things went off pretty smoothly with few dramas and a really good crowd. As the Exhibition Coordinator I'd love to say it was all due to my hard work but it was a team effort. Mostly I made lists and spreadsheets, wrote lots of long emails and politely reminded people of what they were supposed to be doing and when. That and a little heavy lifting.

The Judge, Dr Campbell Gray, Director of the University of Queensland Art Museum liked my Pink Trotter and gave me a highly commended award. It's worth mentioning it was an unbiased judgement, Campbell was not aware of the artists name or any other details regarding the works except the titles. And the title was the one thing he didn't like about the work. He felt that it was obvious from the bright pink finish on a realistically carved, disembodied pigs trotter that the work had "something going on". But according to the title, it's nothing more than a Pink Trotter. A more thoughtful title, he recommended, would add a another layer of meaning and depth to the piece, opening it up to greater interpretation. Truthfully, I'd thought that's exactly what I had been doing by giving it an innocuous, obvious even ironic title. A more descriptive or leading title, I feared, would too narrowly define a meaning and therefore limit the viewer from drawing their own conclusions. In much the same way Jeff Koons titles his pieces like, Puppy, Split Rocker and Balloon Dog.

Upon reflection though, I see a lot of merit in Campbell's comments. With a little extra effort it is possible for me to lead the viewer into a thought path that expands on my intentions and associations. And it doesn't have to be too obvious, sentimental or naive. I also think there have been times I've been a little lazy and named things poorly simply because I couldn't be bothered to think of a better one. But I've spent some time renaming a few other pieces and it was kind of fun like ELEPHANTS FOOT UMBRELLA STAND and HAND and THEY GO FOR THE PRETTY COLOURS and FORWARD ESTIMATES and FUNGIBLE ASSETS.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cost Benefit Analysis

Sculptors Queensland 2014 Members Exhibition and Shillam Prize opens this Friday night. The outdoor pieces were installed in and around the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens last week and tomorrow we begin setting up the indoor exhibition in the Gardens Auditorium. Its going to be a busy day with a long start but I'm looking forward to it.
The outdoor installation went off with little fuss and I'm fairly pleased with the location of my concrete tentacles, directly opposite the entrance to the Japanese Garden. It's easy to get lost in the magnitude of the gardens and at just over 4 feet in diameter and not quite 2 foot high, this is not a massive installation. But I think the clumping habit of the bamboo mirrors the grouping of the tentacles as well as providing a certain atmosphere. There are several good sight-lines on to the work and it's a real "high traffic" corner.