Circular

Circular is an extension of Circles and Ellipses and Colour Theory. The images in this post are simple constructions shot with available light in my makeshift studio. I think the next step will be to get some more advanced type of lighting, maybe a better/truer black & white background material and to elaborate the constructions.I’ll print these as single photographs, no edition. This will make each photograph unique and bring me closer to sculpture/painting. I think of these more like the work of many before me who make something, photograph it and then disassemble it, or let the work just cease to be. I think of Andy Goldsworthy, although his work has a  more formulated thesis and involves a more complicated construction scenario. These are simple constructions. I like simple.The über contrast between the stark white and black backgrounds is working well, but could be improved. I also have to be careful with the edges of my dibond circles. In hindsight creating the circles from photographic prints and then mounting them in dibond was an expensive and not very robust move. When I shoot these on a slight angle the edges of the material detract from the overall effect. These are also pretty touchy. They scratch easily and the edges of the photographs lift off the substrate when I fool around with them too much. It was also an expensive process that was sort of overkill. One of the surprises is the shadows. I think I can manipulate the shadows to be even more interesting as well use other geometric forms of material to make the light behave in more regulated and angular patterns. Right now all that can be really seen are the circular shadows caused by the angle of the light sources. If I can move to either constant light sources with more power or strobe flash light I might be able to create solid lines of shadow that criss cross the sculptural surface of the disc and the picture frames.I’ll print these in various sizes, but I’m leaning towards 48 x 48. I’m toying with making them small prints, and that might be an option because they they’ll become affordable and more practical for many people. There’s also a possibility I’ll take the circles out into the world. I’m fixated in a pile of these  crammed into a corner of the stairwell in my office building. It’s a concrete staircase and very bland. I think the circles would seem so unreal and maybe slightly happy there. 

 

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October 2013

October 2013 is shaping up to be my favourite month this year. Mainly because it’s the Fall and lately it’s the only really fall month we seem to get. Fall suits me.

October 20th – I wandered around the Yonge/Bay and Bloor area. On Yonge just north  of the unattended subway entrance there’s a Jack Astor’s. This is the south wall of the a Starbucks that is facing the fence of the Jack Astor’s patio. I’ve shot this weird little patch of colour on other occasions and I revisit just to see if it’s been painted over. The original exposed brick can be seen underneath the layers of paint and plaster. I think this used to be a cool old bookstore before it became a Starbucks. On Bay the new Four Seasons Hotel/Condo building is approaching completion. There’s work being done however on the actual streets; Bay, and Yorkville in particular. This is looking onto the Four Seasons from the middle of Yorkville.

and the view below is from the Bay Sidewalk looking out onto Bay Street where half the road is being worked on. This is a concrete layer of under layer that I guess they’ll either pave over or actually cover with more concrete. I think the circular patterning was caused by a forklift or other small construction vehicles wheels.October 19th – I wandered up to Keele and St Clair in the rain to investigate The Stockyards If you haven’t seen it, try to avoid it and you’re might be the better for it. In this square kilometre area there is already Canadian Tire, Rona, Home Depot, McDonalds, Harvey’s, Shoppers Drug Mart and other cookie cuter retail stores. Now there’s a new half-a-million square foot, big-box, glorified-strip-mall going in that will contain a Target a, Pet Smart, Best Buy, Second Cup, Subway, and you can guess the rest. Here’s a pic of one of the stores and I bet it’s more interesting now than it will be with second rate, poorly made goods stocking the shelves. Take note, when this place is open I wouldn’t recommend going anywhere near this part of the city, the streets are still built to accommodate industrial and low density residential, not the 250,000 people in cars that will drive here from the surrounding 5km area. We’ve walked on surrounding roads in summer over the past ten years and you can’t breath because the car exhaust is so dense. Think about how ghastly it will be when it’s wall-to-wall grid lock and 35 degrees outside.October 16th – I revisited the weird transitional area between Thorncliff Park and Leaside. I wandered up Laird from Overlea, then across Eglington over to the DVP where my day job office is. It’s the Laird area I find I’m strangely drawn to. I made my way back to the self-storage place where I shot a photograph that was in the first Wandering show at Bau-Xi Photo. The whole complex is being painted. I’m not quite sure what the final colours will be but the interim hodge-podge is appealing. Note the following is not straight-on or at a forty-five degree angle.

When I did a complete circle of the building I also realised that the image I shot the previous year can be shot again this year but it will look even more like the Canadian flag. Just south west of the storage place on Laird there’s been a lot of development to service the suburban/urban area that is Leaside and Overlea. I can’t say that any of this is good development. I think if I say Smart Centres you’ll get the gist. It’s turning into one parking lot after another with generic, chain retail offering poor quality goods and services for a community of convenience. But I don’t live there and I’m sure 90% of the residents love this stuff.

Before the transition happens completely the west side of Overlea has been relatively untouched. It’s still home to lots of businesses that focus on the automobile, and some weird old school looking light industrial. Attached to an old school indoor carwash was the vacant retail place below.

This image is getting printed. I’m liking the simple, virtually black & white look that the space has and it’s slightly tired and imperfect construction. I also really love the weird placement of the door and the window frame leaning against the back wall. They contrast wonderfully with the whiteness that surrounds. I’m not quite sure why but I find this image very mysterious and somewhat otherworldly. To me it’s as if the frames are placed against the wall for some specific unknown and somewhat fantastical purpose rather than simply placed there for storage.I also made my way back into the pseudo park lands that make up the no man’s land of the highway cloverleafs beside my office building. I love these colours and the weird, pastoral nature of these shots. For the last few years I’ve thought  this can be a series in itself that might be inexhaustible. This image relates again to others I took last year, but now I’m looking at the scene with a more literary reference after reading Sebald whom I’ve been told is rather bleak and depressing. Funny, but I didn’t read it that way. I’ve enjoyed both Austerlitz and The Rings of Saturn.The shot below is taken from the parking lot of our office building, and beyond the trees is the DVP. The building beside us is getting new stairs poured in concrete and they ripped out the old ones and stuck them at the back corner of the existing parking lot.

The idea of Urban Pastoral may seem absurd, but areas like those below are quickly becoming the only natural green spaces in our city. I like capturing what looks like the edge of the wild with elements of urbanity in this absurd manner. It’s sort of like public parks having parking lots. 

When I actually got into work and came up the stairs i shot this on the third floor of our building, then rotated the frame 90 degrees. The larger white area is actually a wall, at it’s base is a recessed fluorescent light, then the lip of a ledge and the front edge of that ledge, and finally the dark area is the carpeting of the floor. I like the echoes of James Turrell, Mark Rothko, and Dan Flaven.October 14th - Just off Bloor, West of Bay slightly down from the Ugg store is the empty condo sales office for some new building. It’s been there for a few years. I like the simple depth in this image. I also love the incredibly high ceilings and the suggestion of a library that the empty shelves provide.

October 8th - Yonge Street north of Bloor beside the Bay. Sad attempt at landscaping but never the less a welcome bit of greenery on a dated and unimpressive corner. I’ll work more on this entry on my lunch hour today at work. It’s pretty rainy and taking photos on lunch will most likely not be a good option.October 6th
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Found Sculpture

Found Sculpture in the case below references the work of James Carl. I had a great t-shirt of a t-shirt that James Carl did and that my loverly wife bought from Art Metropole for me. I really like his work. I think I’ll have to get another of those t-shirts. I also want to get some of these generic white cups and lids. They have this awesome James Carl sculptural quality that I find very attractive. I can imagine playing around with them my white paper backdrop, making one-off minimalist photographic sculpture.

I think of these electrical panel constructions as found sculpture too. They’re simply the coolest collage of wires, conduit, metal boxes and wires. It would be good to get some of these materials as well as the cups and construct elaborate and absurd versions of these modular masterpieces.

There’s already a sculptor who utilizes ductwork, and there’s also the work of Jimmy Limit that comes to mind. He shows at Clint Roenisch. If I worried about my work being like someone else’s I would have never produced anything so who cares.

Sculpture is a definite draw for future work. I also like the idea of found materials and of taking photographs to preserve a record of the sculpture. Living with actual sculptures is not the easiest thing to do. I like how photography translates the sculptural into an idea of the sculptural.

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Sebald

Sebald refers to the books I’m reading by W.G. (Max) Sebald. I started reading Austerlitz. I haven’t finished that but I’ve moved on to The Rings of Saturn. I’ll go back to Austerlitz at some point. He’s interesting.  I find myself wanting to relate his writing to the work I’ve been doing over the past ten years. Maybe  I just want to be associated with his work, but maybe it’s more than that.

Sebald’s writing is steeped in memory, the loss of memory, Selective memory, decay, change, and the passing of time. His work usually involves travel. In the case of The Rings of Saturn the narrater walks through Suffolk, the English middle eastern seaside.

Both Austerlitz and The Rings of Saturn contain black & white photographs that compliment various segments of the text. They don’t detract form the descriptive pros but add a further element of mystery to what– for me–are already rather nebulous works.

To me my photographic work is memory based. I’ve never been interested in shooting people directly, but I’m very interested in the memory of them or the possibility of them. There seems so much more narrative leeway without burdening a piece with an actual person.

Both the pieces above reverberate with footsteps. In the second image someone took an elevator journey to this floor from what I imagine was a construction area just to deposit something in the garbage can before getting back on the elevator and leaving a distinct path from the dust on their boots.

The empty space in the first image was Gallery Moos at Bathurst and Richmond. It’s now on College Street but I’m not sure who runs it since Walter Moos died in June of this year. I never went in this gallery, thinking it rather old school. I saw inuit sculpture on a plinth as I rode by on my bike once and I think that sealed it’s fate for me.  I gather from his obit in the Globe he was a bit of a mover and shaker in the Toronto Art community. IN fact he really could be considered a bit of a pioneer having started his gallery in Yorkville in the late 50s. This Richmond Street shop was a truly abysmal location, you can see why the gallery moved to College. The interest for me was that this place was a gallery and now all that remains is the tired interior space punctuated by dust and scuff marks.

I think the image below is a physical manifestation of memory. I love construction holes for their invasion of the past. These holes are dug through years of deposit and dirt and history. I constantly look in these spaces and wish I could wander around inside on the floor of the excavation. I’d be immersed in the lives and deaths of so many. The shear volume of people that have passed over, interacted or lived in this space is overwhelming. If only I could get in touch with some company who digs these things out and get access.

My Sebald book is getting a bit dark. I’m in a bit that’s describing Nazi supported atrocities to the Serbian people during the 40s, Naval battles and the exploitation of the Congo by Belgium. So the caveat might be my that my work is more like Sebald light.

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