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 many years, 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 means of January 23.

GEOLOGY DREW ME TO MONTANA, the place I presently dwell 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 might be inherently caught in shallow time, whereas in Montana, you might be continually reminded of a unique scale whereas gazing at mountains. After all, should you go to the Catskills, you are feeling temporality otherwise, 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 crucial touchstone for me when it comes to fascinated with timescale; I don’t know some other artists tuned in that method. I feel Smithson’s gravitation towards the American West was additionally an inspiration.

The pixelation works within the exhibition developed from fixed experimentation; when syncing this with concepts, the work is propelled ahead and ferments. One can’t 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, present uneasily between these worlds. I’ve gathered totally different meshes through the years as a sculptor and realized by means of play that I might make a brand new form of portray utilizing these supplies. There’s all the time a number 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 with a pixelated realm, I’m pondering how know-how chunks data into part elements. 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 least the oldest remaining information of it. For me, the cave evokes technological filters and the way people have to parse data obsessively into part elements. Equally, in my “Dendroid” sculptures, I’m investigating how people see this gigantic natural entity and dissecting this organism cell by cell, part by part.

The diorama works are additionally pixelated caves. I’ve lengthy been obsessive about the lens by means of 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 eager about how data is acquired and processed by means of 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 sluggish it by means of 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 pay attention to it fosters a extra dynamic way of life. When people attempt for purity, we’re in deep trouble and do nasty issues. I mistrust purity as an idea; I’m way more within the concept of people as corrupted information.

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. Probably the most poetic work in present is the Fungal Flag no. 2, 2021, which reinterprets this object individuals stomp on or increase excessive to precise their superiority. Though some may say the American flag is overused, particularly in artwork, there’s something elemental within the concept 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.