Aaaaand, I’m done. All three sites for Art in Public Places are complete – Mies Coffee Bar, The Substation and Mason Street sites.
What a huge challenge it was to work on the six billboards of the Transit Gallery at The Substation. The weather, while not terrible, was a bit unforgiving. On Wednesday it was cold, windy and sometimes rainy, and I was surprised by how much it affected my morale – alone, four metres in the air, on a platform of scaffolding with only the passing trains to keep me company. Still, I was able to complete about three and a half boards during the day.
I started off by using a roller on an extension pole and ‘sketched’ the shape in from ground level. Then I used the scaffolding, which was on wheels and with some heaving, was able to be moved along to the next board.
Yesterday, thankfully the weather was more forgiving. The sun came out and it was suddenly so much easier to paint and move and think.
I have been dreaming of working at large scale for a long time. This significant scale has come with a few problems and logistical issues for the making of the work. Apart from the obvious working at height (lugging paint and materials up ladders on the scaffolding) being tiring, it was difficult to be able to stand back from the work and view it as a whole. Additionally, climbing up and down and carrying supplies made my hands shaky, and it became a bit hard to paint a straight line.
I am starting to explore gesture in my work again. I had abandoned it for a time, thinking gesture and painterly or scumbled marks were inseparable, but I discover that they are not. I’m exploring how my body or my gesture can be present in the forms I paint. However, one wonders if there is an optimal scale to do this. I wonder if something else is at play by my needing scaffolding and extension poles to make the work in the scale of site. I have often used extension poles before, but they always felt like my own gesture somehow. Still – standing back and looking at the finished product now, it really does feel like an accurate ‘account’ of my concept of space and my gesture, just on grand scale.
More on the install at Mason Street in my next post…