- Starts: Thu 12-25-2014
- Ends: Sun 01-25-2015
- Opening Reception: 20140102
Husband and wife Chicory Miles and Malcolm Mc Clay TITLE : DRAUGHT
Hybrid Realities is a series of watercolors, which at first glance appear to be botanical illustrations. On closer inspection an unfolding flower is made of curling toes, and the petals of a rose reveal an eye lurking in the center. I view these images as a celebration of the interconnection between all living things, which science continues to reveal to us. With these paintings I place myself at the intersection between art and science, becoming a contemporary naturalist who has discovered hybrid organisms yet to be created.
My work explores the ways in which technology and culture are interrelated. I believe that technological innovations are not simply forces that shape culture, but are deeply intertwined with the vision of the culture itself. Through visual means, I attempt to place genetics in a larger cultural and historical framework. The language of the scientific diagram fails to make genetics palpable, my work is an attempt to make it tangible. My imagery collapses myth, medical history, and contemporary technology to reveal how science itself has become mythologized.
The work for Draught grew out of Ekstasis, a series of performances I completed in October 2013. During the performances I used books to mine for words I wrote on the gallery walls and in stacks to stand on to reach the top of the walls. I became fascinated with the books not just as sources of information but also as objects that could be assembled, stacked, cut and shaped. It is this fascination with books as physical objects that fueled Draught. The weight in your hand, the smell of the paper, and the sound of pages from the light fluttering of old dictionaries to the heavy pages of hardback novels stand in stark contrast to an iPad or kindle. In a world where everyone is lit from below as they stare at their phone, a book becomes so much more than the sum of its parts, it is there, present and tactile, an object to hold and get to know.
I have always been fascinated by Jean Tinguely’s Meta Reliefs from the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Described under the umbrella term Meta Mechanics they were mostly black cut out shapes on white boards. These works combined with my own personal experience as a father lead to the development of this new work.
This piece was begun as an exploration of written language in August as my son Darragh started Kindergarten. Observing his growing understanding as he moved swiftly from merely identifying letters to reading words and sentences reminded me of all that we take for granted in the complex development of understanding the written word. Now that the piece is complete he is using those letters to make words. By assembling these 26 shapes in various combinations he would be able to understand the most complex of ideas and communicate his thoughts to others in an accurate succinct yet expressive way. I was reminded that with these 26 simple shapes, all was possible. The excitement he has displayed in identifying and sounding out words over the few months it took me to build this piece has been infectious. By taking a standard freestanding blackboard and blowing it up in scale I hope to give adults that feeling they once had in Kindergarten of standing next to a blackboard that towers over them.
Thinking of the letters as simple shapes prompted me to explore what they would be like if they were turned upside down, and as a way of suggesting this idea of books as containers for knowledge and ideas it made sense to have them slowly open and close revealing their content and then folding back to become a single letter again. Essentially the process of reading requires us to identify abstract forms transforming them first to sounds and finally to words to create meaning.