Who is John Galt?

Mans perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception, he perceives more than sense (tho’ ever so acute) can discover. (Blake 33)

How do others become interested in what I am interested in, how do I get my point across? My first intent is to make objects that I enjoy. It has come to the forefront of my practice that it is my childhood experiences and curiosities that facilitate my artistic endeavors. Those experiences and questions influence, but do not necessarily dictate, the way I think, research and make my work. However, the core, the essence of the ideas, can all be pinpointed to a time decades in the past.

‘When we are no longer children, we are already dead’ – Brancusi (Krauss 1033)

Before I could make glass I collected it. I could never make much sense of it, esoteric if you will. As a youth I collected glass objects, a menagerie of sorts. My high school and early college days were far from art. I wanted to be a naturalist or veterinarian.

I still find myself on the outside of art. I read, and I look but I don’t believe in the institution (art school) as a whole. I am attending because I am interested, I want to learn and to teach. However, I find much of art school encouraging one to look at what has already been made and thought out. What of the ideas and scenarios that spawned the artists of the past into their creative states? Art in a school format can be too contextualized with other artists, inundated, and over saturated. One starts to loose a sense of self, a sense of who they are.

I want you to stare
I want you to believe it can exist
Only because you can exist
Refusing it is refusing your innate natural pleasure
It is refusing BEAUTY

The trope, the context, the content and the idea are all part of a problematic situation in an equation for the studio practice, an assignment for a class. The constructs are real; the scenario is false. Is there a barrier to pass through? That threshold is where context and content meet. What if their facades could be stripped and they became one – visible, invisible – clear or transparent. I am not trying to say that these do not matter. However, what if an object, a singularity could resonate all in one? Could an object be capable of fracturing space and time and in doing so become relevant now during this moment and all those moments that preceded and those to follow? I believe through BEAUTY an object could do that, could pass through the barriers or implications of constructs thus shattering and remaking all at once. This is a cyclic event leaving the viewer and the object alone – together.

All that remains is the Object as a strange attractor. The subject is no longer a strange attractor. We know the subject to well: the subject knows himself to well. It is the Object that is exciting… (Baudrillard 197)

If one could be allowed to exchange excitement for BEAUTY, could more exist? Can the objects’ content flow with its beauty, thus not distracting it but instead enhancing it? Can BEAUTY and idea instruct the formal qualities or aesthetics of the object?

In my mind a perfect work would reshape the environment because of its innate ability to do so. It can exist in one place or anyplace just as long as there is a place to exist. The object or work made by me becomes the sculptor of its own space, the place it occupies. The work can do this because of its beauty and content.

The task of beauty is to enfranchise the audience and acknowledge its power – to designate a territory of shared values between image and its beholder and then, in this territory, to advance an argument valorizing the picture’s (work’s) problematic content. (Hickey 9)

In my present work I am trying to represent a moment. A specific point in time where a threshold is breached or a scenario is changed. This threshold and transition can also be passed into the ideas of quantum mechanics, specifically black holes. One view of black holes is that the gravitational pull is so great that it doesn’t allow for light to escape. Another idea around these singularities or black holes is that one could fall ‘through a wormhole and come out in another region of space in the universe.” (Hawking 89) Thus a switch is made, a transparent switch. Without light one would not know that they made this switch or traveled through the anomaly until after the fact. In space a wormhole, though still theoretical, is seen as having the ability to switch an object from one place to another. A mirror is a simple device that shows a switch in the idea that it shows a virtual image of what is in front of it. However, the image is not real as it is backwards, a reflection.

Glass a clear liquid, a transparent sculpture, is a medium that can show these ideas of switch. In order to give the importance of glass or structure we can look at Warhol’s Invisible Sculpture. This work takes this transparency or nothingness to a new level. However, into the nothing conjures up Gilles Deleuze’s quote ‘In this collapse of the surface, the entire world loses its meaning’. (Lippit 42) This transparent surface of glass would then provide meaning and enlightenment. In ancient times the clarity was a symbol of purity and righteousness. Glass was a magnifier of the lights from the heavens. In looking again at Warhol’s sculpture we can think of the idea that ‘there is no light generation without matter.’ (Eliasson 381) Without light nothing is there visually. The light tells us that but conceptually through the transparency of the mind an object and idea is there.

The liquid and fluid humor metamorphoses
Into rays, comets, stars and marvels.
Here the globes soar and bubbles rise;
There minuscule spheres ceaselessly swirl;
Everything secretly germinates, the jets multiply.
Everything undulates and streams, and bursts and flows. (Weiss 78)

I am here. Here to learn and here to make. This past year has been concerned with developing a practice that is within the parameters of the school environment. In my last work for the semester I hope to show that I have learned, but at the same time, that it is my education, I sculpt it. Glass is a fluid transfer of knowledge that has been passed down to me from some of the best practioners and teachers. It is my hope to do them justice and pass on their practice to others to come, and to pass on my own unique discoveries.

My work starts with my style or approach in the shop and ends in the piece that is hung on the wall or sits ready upon the floor. It is my hope that the piece can command space, and sculpt space with every intention of doing so. The work is in command. The work’s beauty and content are fluid, the work is of glass, glass is a fluid. It is a fluid transfer of knowledge. It is my hope that some day the work can stop the motor. There is no need for Atlas to shrug or John Galt to look on, for the work can reshape the constructs of day. It can push a future, and welcome the unknown.

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper. (Eliot 105)

Baudrillard, Jean The Transparency of Evil
Verso, NY 1990

Blake, William The Complete Illuminated Books
Thames and Hudson, NY 2005.

Eliot, T.S. Collected Poems
Brace and World inc. Harcourt. 1934

Eliasson, Olafur Surroundings Surrounded
MIT Press, Cambridge. 2000

Harrison & Wood Art in Theory 1900-2000
Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Mass 2003. (Gaudier – Brzeska, Krauss)

Hawking, Stephen A Brief History of Time
Bantam Books, NY 1988

Hickey, David The Invisible Dragon
The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 2009

Lippit, Akira Atomic Light (Shadow Optics)
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. 2005

Weiss, Allen S. Mirrors of Infinity
Princeton Architectural Press, NY. 1995