…With Observations on their Habits, 2012

one-person exhibition at Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles

18 February through 10 March 2012

The title of the show, …With Observations on their Habits comes from the title of the book by Charles Darwin, The Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms, With Observations on Their Habits, published in 1881. My interest in this volume is twofold: I am fascinated by worms and have for many years kept a compost pile to raise them; and I regard Darwin’s working method as a model for talking about what I do in my own studio practice. For decades Darwin performed simple experiments in his laboratory at Down House, and also observed how over time the landscape around him regenerated itself, in the process transforming itself. And more specifically, I am interested in how worms, the subject of Darwin’s inquiry, continually reconstitute matter, making a new and generative substance out of something that was once generative itself.

With Observations on their Habits consists of a single work that is a room-sized sculpture. This sculpture transforms earlier works in various ways: dismantling, melting down, reorganizing, augmenting. As a result of these processes, the original sculptures cannot be reconstituted as they once were. Sculptures become pedestals, photos become pedestals, scraps become sculptures. My aim is to erase the prior forms of the objects, treating them as raw materials. This process does not end once something is exhibited, as a sculpture can become another thing again. Mine is an open-ended process that in its present manifestation implies both its past and a future to come.

With Observations on their Habits is a response to the space at Commonwealth & Council, which is of limited size and has a large window on either of two walls. The specific conditions of the room led me to investigate in concrete terms the relation between a work and the space in which it is presented. For me this relation is reciprocal: the form of the work and the form of the room engage each other.

The following photos ©Paula Goldman Photography

…With Observations on their Habits, 1989-2012

This version installed in the main gallery and hallway of Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles, CA

Aluminum sculpture; rolled up photo proofs, Diazo prints and left over paper; polyethylene foam; melted down bronze sculpture; left over brochures, catalogs and inserts; acrylic paint; compost; acrylic; Piezo inkjet prints; disassembled clothes; C-prints mounted on Dibond; framed c-print; silicone rubber


review:  Peter Frank in The Huffington Post

review:  Catherine Wagley in LAWeekly

article:  Carol Cheh in LAWeekly