On deep time and materials poetics

Roxy Paine, Stratigraphic no. 1, 2021, wood, epoxy resin, thermoset polymer, lacquer, and oil paint, 36 x 60 1/2 x 6 1/2''.

For over three a long time, Roxy Paine has created virtuosic sculptures that look at how technological mediation processes and reformulates nature. His most up-to-date work takes the form of painted grids of extruded epoxy that transpose immaterial pixels into sculpted cubes in reduction. The ensuing picture is usually at odds with its floor, recalling the method of serigraphy or the painstaking pointillism Georges Seurat. These latest work and dioramas type the core of Paine’s exhibition “Sedimentary Lens,” on view on the SCAD Museum of Artwork in Savannah, Georgia, by January 23.

GEOLOGY DREW ME TO MONTANA, the place I presently stay and work after a few years in New York Metropolis. The most important change I’ve skilled in Montana is how I understand time. In New York, you’re inherently caught in shallow time, whereas in Montana, you’re continually reminded of a special scale whereas gazing at mountains. In fact, if you happen to go to the Catskills, you’re feeling temporality differently, rounded stone worn down epochs in the past. In Montana, I see the uplift and slow-motion violence of planets and plates. I really feel time on a geologic scale. Robert Smithson is a vital touchstone for me when it comes to fascinated about timescale; I don’t know every other artists tuned in that approach. I believe Smithson’s gravitation towards the American West was additionally an inspiration.

The pixelation works within the exhibition advanced from fixed experimentation; when syncing this with concepts, the work is propelled ahead and ferments. One can not exist with out the opposite, in any other case the work is incomplete. First got here the sedimentary stratigraphic items whose layers are composed on the borders of the natural and industrial, current uneasily between these worlds. I’ve accrued totally different meshes over time as a sculptor and realized by play that I might make a brand new form of portray utilizing these supplies. There may be at all times plenty of bodily labor within the course of.

Roxy Paine, Green Cave, 2021, wood, epoxy, stainless steel, lacquer, oil paint, 30 1/2 x 45 1/4 x 6''.

In fascinated about a pixelated realm, I’m pondering how expertise chunks data into element components. Whereas making drawings, I circled again to concepts of the cave. An aperture, lens, or digital camera obscura, the cave is a spot tied to our Homo sapien historical past in addition to the origin of artwork, or at the very least the oldest remaining information of it. For me, the cave evokes technological filters and the way people have to parse data obsessively into element components. Equally, in my “Dendroid” sculptures, I’m investigating how people see this gigantic natural entity and dissecting this organism cell by cell, element by element.

The diorama works are additionally pixelated caves. I’ve lengthy been obsessive about the lens by which we understand the world, histories, and time. Dioramas are additionally lenses onto these abstractions, reflecting our evolutionary growth and what drives our brains, which is usually a thriller. These dioramas are lenses onto the psyche and our pasts.

Roxy Paine, Fungal Flag no. 1, 2021, wood, epoxy, lacquer, oil paint, 36 × 60 × 4''.

I’m additionally desirous about how data is obtained and processed by algorithms and the way that modifications our brains over time, however nothing on this present makes use of algorithms. My work is made in analog, which is a contradiction that pursuits me. I wish to take what’s so instantaneous about machine studying and gradual it by making: What was lightning quick is now languid and suspended within the laboratory of course of. We’re bundles of contradictions—to simply accept this and concentrate on it fosters a extra dynamic way of life. When people try for purity, we’re in deep trouble and do nasty issues. I mistrust purity as an idea; I’m much more within the thought of people as corrupted recordsdata.

When I attempt to perceive a brand new materials, I strategy it as a language. At first one is unable to talk fluently, however with time, course of, and work with that materials, my hope is to sometime write one thing significant or poetic in that language. Essentially the most poetic work in present is the Fungal Flag no. 2, 2021, which reinterprets this object folks stomp on or elevate excessive to precise their superiority. Though some may say the American flag is overused, particularly in artwork, there’s something elemental within the thought of humus within the floor and micro organism rotting life. I’m taking a loaded, heavy-laden image and, in a perverse show, making a poem.