I currently maintain two materially distinct practices that share themes and intent. I also explore the melding of these two approaches (see Chimeras).  

 

Geometric patterns and forms are points of departure.  I am interested in transitions from the rational and orderly into complex organic images and structures. Conflicting visual cues of spatiality vs. flatness also intrigues me. My work is, in part, an experiential investigation of our processing of raw sensory input into representations of reality.  The moment of transition from seeing something as volumetric versus flat and back again, within an artful context, can be mysteriously transporting. 

 

“Reflect/Spirit/Light” (R/S/L) starts with photographs or material swatches of patterns and colors. I photograph these through transparent models of Platonic solids. This multi-step process engenders complexity and distortion, and I select those that achieve the greatest beauty of line, pattern, and color. The gleaming intricacy of these images is realized by archival printing on shaped laser cut-outs from mirrored acrylic sheets. These objects present volumetric illusions arising from their geometrical configurations, along with visual cues from edges and faces. (To better apprehend this aspect please see the multiple viewpoint photos and videos on the Installations page).   I prefer to display these, using a system I devised, held a few inches off the wall, below or above eye level, and tilted towards the viewer. Viewing these, with cast shadows, from placements that differ from those of “pictures” on the wall, furthers the sense of these being volumetric rather than flat.  I further realize the abstract and implicit sculptural nature of some R/S/L pieces by editing the shapes down into fewer seen faces, which can be matched with corresponding fragments into diptychs, reuniting these into fragmented wholes. For some pieces, I take this process one step further by physically bonding together multiple components into sculptural wholes. 

 

Reflect/Spirit/Light (R/S/L) objects present as satisfying abstract images that evoke delicious mental experiences, touching on the sublime. Geometry in general, and the Platonic solids in particular, have long been considered to have spiritual values. Light itself, subjected to effects of crystalline reflective and transparent objects, also has this potential. Much of my work, including R/S/L, incorporates grids, another way geometry through extension and repetition, can transcend the ordinary  Viewers, who are able to see these objects from multiple angles, are often intrigued by how R/S/L objects’ robust illusions of spatiality alternate with an awareness of their material flatness. Pondering this, vivid awareness can emerge of how our notion of reality is constructed by our brain from ambiguous inputs. Such momentary experiences are at least a taste of what many might term as mystical or spiritual (or the sublime).

 

I am fascinated by string as an art material.  It is ordinary, and quintessentially linear yet has actual weight and volume. Despite obvious differences, the hands-on and low-tech practice I refer to as  "String/Rope/Cord" (S/R/C) has much in common with R/S/L. S/R/C is based on crudely woven string (or rope/cord), which can incorporate added irregularities and additions that interfere with the simple grid motifs. These objects can be twisted, interwoven, or painted. They can be layered onto painted supports, along with painted swatches of fabrics and mesh.  

 

The strings' weave is very open which allows visual combination and depth of layers. 

Like R/S/L, S/R/C starts with a geometric premise that metamorphoses into more fluid visions.  R/S/L presents illusions of volume posed by flat objects, while S/R/C contrasts apparent overall flatness with actual 3-dimensionality. S/R/C further investigates the transformation of the geometric into organic structures. Formal order flows into life-like networks, and back again. 

 

Copyright 2014-2020 Laurence Elias.  All rights reserved

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