This Summer, I decided to take on a new installation project after an April conversation with Jordan from Denver's Forest Room 5 (Restaurant, Bar, Lounge, Night Club, and more recently - Gallery). The offer was simple, they have a newer large room (I call it the tree-house) where DJ's play out to crowds and the walls are dedicated to monthly art exhibits. I decided to do an installation that I felt could interact with this thematically rich space. Henceforth, a plan to create as many bells out of porcelain as I could and figure out a way to install them along a long wall in the space. I wanted to continue work that addresses a concept I've been addressing in my work lately - cryptic or obsolete language, while also creating a piece that interacts with the "trees" at Forest Room.
I talked about cryptic language in an earlier post about a drawing I made for the Exquisite Corpse project at my gallery, GroundSwell. The idea of creating works that have a message though the message is not entirely obvious or understandable to most, makes sense to me as a way of avoiding a didactic or even trite nature. I have a subtle irritation with artwork that poorly uses statements or words (so obvious, too moralistic, awkwardly immature, etc.), so I try not to use words in my work. ...lately, I can't help myself as I realize I can make the message or the words only known to me and maybe a few focused, intent, or just in-the-know individuals. This work is about the obsolescence of bells and their "language" of timbre and pitch, timing and number, but it is also about the constant language of "ring tone" in the contemporary bell or chime known as a cell phone. It's a note that says, "oh yeah, remember these?" to my peers and also says to the chicos, "Hey kids, this is what a ring tone used to come from!" I know bells aren't extinct, but... you know, I just love bells and I think it's interesting that I love something that is now becoming a sentiment or nostalgic item of antiquity. This artwork is titled, Tinnient Campana.
Art Students League of Denver (which is awesome) with Barry Rose (who really knows his stuff when it comes to ceramics) to make by hand as many porcelain bells and clappers (the piece that strikes the bell from the inside) as I could. There are 108 of them. I'm exhibiting 99 in groups of 3. The purpose of installing a large number is to identify the proliferation of "ring tones" in our lives and the relationship to the origin of the ring tone. All 33 sets of 3 go on exhibit this coming Saturday at Forest Room 5 (2532 15th Street Denver, Co 80211). I hope you'll take the time to drop by and see this new work before the end of the show on October 2.