BRUTALIST PLATFORMS FOR QUIET CONTEMPLATION
For the past fifty years I have produced work in the post-modernist tradition, attempting to create the most beautiful shapes and a movement that sends the mind flying.
Not long ago, an instant of clarity came over me, and I found myself enveloped in the Brutalist movement. The architectural structures I was looking at were calling to me, asking, “How can these powerful images become a part of me, and by extension, a part of my work”?
I found myself making drawings and building 3D printed models of places that seemed to me to be safe, quiet, and protected from the ravages of the world we live in. “Eyes eastbound” (the title of this 13th Cairo Biennale) strikes this strong image in my mind. An image of all humanity aligned facing east and thereby sharing a commonality and unity.
Perhaps my platforms could be seen as starting points, helping us to reach our inner humanity and then, facing east, find common ground.
Brutalist thinking came out of the destruction of war and holds a strong sense of form & function. There was a need to rebuild cities destroyed as a result of the last world war. What better material than poured concrete and citizens working toward one common goal. To me, Brutalist thinking is an example of the resiliency of human beings. An instance of our desire to make things right, our desire to survive on this planet.
Heavy, poured concrete slabs becoming floors and walls, and polished stainless steel or polychromed slender spires identify this new work. The spires are a form I’ve used for years in my work containing a deep and endless meaning. They are much like trees, and leave behind the mark of man’s intervention on nature. My spires are architectural icons; they bring rest to my fragmented soul. Stairways leading to no place in particular, excite me. They give my artwork scale, contrasting insignificant humans coping with the grandness of the structure they occupy. This structure is so directly imposing that the everydayness of our lives disappears into the structure that consumes us.