The images utilize and are keyed to a color spectrum of the emotions by Robert Plutchik, who theorized how all emotions work together to create wholeness in our selves. From his theory, my own data collected through interactive surveys, and specialized mapping programs, I created this visualization of the collective Austin experience.
Steel, wood, ink, chalk, hardware, 98″ x 120″ x 120″
Read my writing about the process of making the Four Gates:
My inspiration for the sculpture Four Gates is from Mark Helprin’s novel The Winter’s Tale.
There is a short chapter at the end of the first third of the book, page 219, titled Four Gates. Here is an excerpt from the chapter:
“To enter a city intact it is necessary to pass through one of the new gates. They are far more difficult to find than their solid predecessors, for they are tests, mechanisms, devices, and implementations of justice. There once was a map, now long gone, one of the ancient charts upon which colorful animals sleep or rage. Those who saw it said that in its illuminations were figures and symbols of the gates. The east gate was that of acceptance of responsibility, the south gate that of the desire to explore, the west gate that of devotion to beauty, and the north gate that of selfless love. ”
The steel circles have four different diameters, 78″, 84″, 90″, and 96″ so that four different average sized adults can stand in the circles and expand the geometry of their reach to their biggest selves, as in Vitruvius’ drawing. I inscribed on each of the four gates a section of the sentence above. After conversations with friends, I chose the North Gate, that of selfless love, to be the largest. The largest and the smallest are opposite each other, and the two middle sized are opposite each other. When four people expand themselves inside the circles, they create a sculptural human community.
This sculpture was the focal point of the show. The “Four Gates Drawings” were made from these circles laying down on paper.
paint on steel, concrete, 48″ x 62″ x 62″, 2013
Full Bloom is about the intensity of the compacted self. It is a mini temple for one person. It has a painting on the outside of the dome and another on the inside of the dome. The space is small, so only smaller adults or children might have the idea to go under it, so the inside is meant to be a surprise for the curious. Full Bloom has two different shapes painted on it in repeating patterns, “I Am Free” and “Beautiful Mess”. It is made from one 37″ diameter steel hemisphere with four 12″ hemispheres attached to the sides at an angle. The steel domes sit on top of four concrete columns made of stacked cylinders of concrete.
Shining Apollo: paint and patina on steel, concrete, 92″ x 88″ x 88″, 2013
Descending Apollo: the drop from the dome, paint and patina on steel, 60″ x 60″ x 6″, 2013
Sculpture as a tribute to the sun. The shape was chosen by making many quick ink drawings to find dynamic shape that worked well in circular composition.
photo by Melissa Bartling
oil and mixed media on aluminum, 18″ x 46″ x 24″ and 18″ x 52″ x 24″, 2012
From the drops of Heaven and Hell.
mixed media on steel spheres, diameter varies from 12″ to 2″
Planet like installation of steel spheres, using diverse techniques of drawing into the steel with a plasma cutter; drawing on the surface with different paints, chalks, and charcoals; etching the surface of the steel with various chemicals and patinas; all in fun and playfulness while I worked more strategically on bigger pieces. I am the cosmos, you are the cosmos, we are all part of the cosmos.
ink on paper, 32 drawings 7″x14″ each, 2013
These drawings were made as studies for gestural compositions within a circle. One was used as the image in “Shining Apollo”, and of course its negative drop “Descending Apollo”. Another was used as the graphic image for the “I Am Free” hemisphere and on the dome of “Full Bloom”.
This drawing was made using a 62″ diameter steel circle on paper and using it as a drawing tool to play with a circle that is the diameter of my height.
ink, paint and charcoal on paper, 57″x59″ 2012
ink, paint and charcoal on paper, 60″x55″ 2012
This drawing was made by laying down a 54″ diameter steel circle onto a large piece of paper, asking my son Wallace to compose himself in it, and me drawing and painting around him.
This drawing was made by laying down a 48″ diameter steel circle onto a large piece of paper, asking my son Roland to compose himself in it, and me drawing and painting around him.