About this Website
This website opens a direct channel for those interested in contacting me about the art. For most of my career, and specifically for the last thirty years, I have been an independent artist. While I am grateful to those who have given the work a place to be seen and exchanged during a time in which I have been hard to find, confusion has arisen as my name has appeared in such a way as to give the impression of representation. Here at last is an opportunity for writers, museums, and those wishing to acquire uncirculated work to reach me without confusion or delay. Also, individuals and institutions who already own my work are invited to get in touch and register with the archive, and if necessary get help caring for the work.
The gallery may be a wonderful and even essential place to begin a career, as the artist emerges from obscurity ablaze with the first inspiration, but later on there is a fork where a small pathway appears for those looking beyond a visually pure but commercially connected exhibition environment, and free from conflicted association. Art can benefit by reconnecting with architecture and agriculture, with the rituals of life and the transcendence of this life. On this path is freedom from the yearly or biennial delivery of the advancing work, affording even a lifetime for the solution of difficult problems.
Available also on this website are a few samples of an investigation into geometry. Most of this work is kept in reserve, hoping to meet that collaboration which would enable it to reach to world.
In Word are offered dharanis and also poems based on a phonetic alphabet. Dharanis are like mantras but more meaning oriented. They are meant to focus attention and not to be seen as art or literature. Often they are restatements of words of the masters. They are free for personal use and modification. Song shows how Sanskrit verses can be sung in western style with two or three chord accompaniment, in the hope that finer talents will validate the inspiration. Original songs still wait presentation.
About the work
Minimalism was clearing a path through the welded steel wilderness when I was finding my direction as an artist. I was attracted to the basic geometry and non-compositionality of this work and got to know its chief exponent Robert Morris when I was a student at Hunter College where he taught. After visiting my first studio, seeing there (and elsewhere) the sculptural potential of flexible material making its own form, he began to work in felt. Soon his Anti-Form article appeared in Artforum, giving the impression that he was the leader of a new movement, which others called Process Art. Nevertheless, Morris generously made the connections that enabled my work to become known, and contact with him gifted me with lessons in the ways of a highly accomplished artist.
While Morris and other minimalists made clear a field populated with rigid primary forms which I could react against with primary flexible forms, my feeling for these forms may have been influenced by the summer I spent as an assistant in the free-flowing form world of architect Paolo Soleri in 1961.
How did I begin? Wondering what painting would be like if the space between the threads of the canvas were expanded, I tried stretching chicken wire over frames made of electrical conduit. Fascinated by the potential of the wire mesh alone, I abandoned the frame. This was 1966. Considering that wire had already been processed into mesh, I explored all the ways the mesh could be reprocessed, using only my hands, feet and shears. It could be folded longitudinally, crossways and diagonally, rolled into tubes and coiled, and coils in turn could be folded. Chicken wire could be cut into strips which agglomerated into masses like tumbleweed. Layered sheets gave strength, and coming from an architectural background, I loved how the wire cloth could stand up and enclose space with a diaphanous presence, as the semi-rigid material took its own shape and made its own line. I was the only sculptor in this genre to create self-supported, lightweight, freestanding floor pieces. Nature was my ally, whispering each possibility into marvelously transparent form, inside and outside merged in continuity. Sculpture broke its rigid shell, and a living, breathing spirit emerged. In the attempt to make studies of mesh sculpture, I began drawing with bundles of pencils, and when the technique freed itself from the constraints of representation, Gang Drawings emerged, ensouling the moment of their creation into breathing worlds.
Ultimately, what lies behind the ever-renewing creation? As each inspiration took on a life, what was the source of it all? I felt that art had taken me to a portal, but could not reveal what was beyond. When I was selected by the Museum of Modern Art to participate in an international exhibition at the Lalit Kala Academy in New Delhi in 1971, where I built a ramp of local construction material, I decided to cash in my return ticket and spent almost three years exploring the ultimate questions of Self and world that the art had occasioned.
Back in the USA in 1974, I began exploring how line could build mass. ¬ Infinity opened! From chaos to cubes, magic and mathematics challenged my rudimentary knowledge of geometry, and channeled the material qualities of wire. In a loosely ordered realm preceding the regular solids, I discovered number stuff. Connecting strands by pairs built two-stuff, by threes, three-stuff, by various sets of numbers, multiple number stuff. Number stuff could in turn be further ordered into geometric lattices. The cubic grid, for example, is a special case of three-stuff. Knotting and twisting made perfect low-tech connections – no need to solder, braze or weld. Some writers never saw beyond the ends left free at the periphery of the mass, finding only tangles. Initially, this aerial and cloudlike Network Sculpture was mostly suspended. In the eighties I began to build the structurally difficult strand-wire floor pieces, a project that continues even now.
In 1975, the opportunity to work at Artpark in Lewiston, NY enabled development of the layering and folding principle of the early mesh sculpture into a shelter called the Ghosthouse. Back at the studio, I saw the possibility of making an opening in a wall when the adjacent building was demolished. Removing only a half brick on the outside and widening the aperture toward the inside allowed a beam of light to shine on a large sheet of paper, which I traced in paint every four minutes and so recorded the motion of the sun at that place for a period of a year. A similar Aperture or Wall Temple can still be seen at MoMA P.S.1.
Maintenance and Installation
Flexible Sculpture is interactive to various degrees. Refer to original photographs. If you have no photograph, and find yourself in doubt, contact me through this website.
Work should have a natural, uncontrived appearance. After transportation or storage, network sculpture may need to be decompressed by pulling on the outer twists or knots. Shaking can restore life to the work. Outer wires should curve naturally. Kinks can be removed by passing the wire through the fingers. Floor Pieces may be tugged up to increase the height by reaching into the mass below the apex. Ceiling Pieces can be hung directly from a hook, in which case they are not free to turn. If the ceiling is high enough they may be suspended from clear nylon line. Some may incorporate a small swivel to facilitate turning. Wall Pieces require a hook or a nail driven at sufficient angle to secure the work.