Material Worlds

At the weekend I visited the new Material Worlds wing at Tate Modern.

 

The work on show features artists who utilise all kinds of materials, often in larger scale installations. These included found objects, natural materials, textiles stitched in secret locations and even endless ropes of human hair.

 

Sheela Gowda,  Behold  2009

Sheela Gowda, Behold 2009

Magdalena Abakanowicz,  Embyology   1978–80

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Embyology 1978–80

 

I was most excited to see work by one of my favourite artists, Louise Nevelson, in this new exhibit!

 

Louise Nevelson   " An American Tribute to the British People" 1960–4 Painted wood, 3110 x 4424 x 920 mm  

Louise Nevelson "An American Tribute to the British People" 1960–4 Painted wood, 3110 x 4424 x 920 mm 

 

This piece was gifted by Nevelson in 1965, titled "An American Tribute to the British People", Nevelson's her dealer said that the artist felt that it was appropriate for our monarchial country:

"Its cathedral-like aspect, which seems to present the viewer with an altar at which to kneel, perhaps to receive some royal blessing, and its gilded splendor … were considered peculiarly appropriate.’

Originally born in Czarist Russia, Nevelson lived most of her life in New York, and was heavily influenced by her surroundings. This glorious gold sculpture also reminds me of the iconic cities luxurious sky scrapers.

Art Deco plaque of the Empire State Building, New York.

Art Deco plaque of the Empire State Building, New York.

The display caption tells us that Nevelson worked on this assemblage over a number of years, continually recomposing the found objects within it. Close-up it reminds me of the stacks of old paintings in gilt frames in auctions and junk shops. The golden coating they share emphasises the sense of a treasured item from another time. Covered and gathered they display an inherent value despite being cast away when no longer valued individually.

 

I first found Nevelson's work when I was at school and instantly captivated by her impressive structures. 

 

Growing up in a home where nothing was thrown away, I would scavenge interesting bits of wood from piles of timber and broken furniture in my dad's workshop and in Nevelson's sculptures I could identify the balustrades and chair legs amidst the hand sculpted pieces. 

The way she used a single colour to envelope her carefully assembled finds into these impressive structures had a huge impact on me. Nevelson liked black paint because it conjured "totality, peace and greatness." 

 

Louise Nevelson  Black Wall  1959. Painted wood 2642x2165x648mm

Louise Nevelson Black Wall 1959. Painted wood 2642x2165x648mm

There is such sensitivity in her compositions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the New York was redeveloped in the 1950's Nevelson faced eviction from her home and studio. The partially demolished buildings left detritus left from everyday lives, and she found her materials in the debris.

Some of her arrangements like Black Wall,  remind me of the different people living in apartments.

Harking back to the crowded cities like New York I can imagine these wooden boxes as a neighbourhood of personalities housed in different rooms. 

A community is made up of individuals. Living next to each other, but separated by these divides they are shown that they are all one.

If you are one of those inside it you can only see yourself and the four walls around you. Only we can see they are all unified by being able to look at the whole thing from a wider perspective.

 

 

 
 

The new Material Worlds wing is free & on now at Tate Modern.

Playing For Keeps!

Aggie either a marble made out of agate or a glass marble that looks like it's agate. A glass or imitation aggie is also called an immie.

Some marbles in my studio on a sunny day

Some marbles in my studio on a sunny day

Alley A marble made of marble. Alley is short for alabaster.

Bombsies Dropping your shooter on the target marble.

Histing Lifting your knuckle from the ground while shooting.

Hand sculpted from resin with a sterling silver shank and marble detail, a one-of-a-kind piece available at Craft & Culture

Hand sculpted from resin with a sterling silver shank and marble detail, a one-of-a-kind piece available at Craft & Culture

Keepsies Playing for keeps. You get to keep all the marbles you win.

Unique resin, marble & sterling silver ring at Craft & Culture

Unique resin, marble & sterling silver ring at Craft & Culture

These two new resin and silver rings have recently arrived in Seattle's Craft & Culture. I designed and made them around some of my own collection of glass marbles. I love their perfect shape and lustrous colour. To contrast these glass orbs in texture and colour I chose to work in  an angular bright blue with flecks of orange to sculpt these one-of-a-kind rings.

Here are more details on these pieces at craft & Culture


Knuckle down To put one knuckle of your shooting hand in contact with the ground. Most players put the knuckle of their index finger on the ground. You position your shooter in the crook of the index finger and flick it out with your thumb.

Lagging A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first.


Lagging A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first.

 

Mibs The target marbles in a game. Another name is Kimmies.


Playing for fair All marbles are returned to owner after the game.

Plunking Hitting the targets on the fly.

Taw Another name for a shooter. Shooters are often slightly larger than target marbles. In some games you shoot from behind a taw line.

 

 

PLAYING FOR KEEPS THE WINNER KEEPS ALL THE MARBLES AFTER THE GAME ("WINNER KEEPS, LOSER WEEPS").