stephen in the spray
Stephen has put the "cave painting" that I mentioned on Day 25 into motion- and it has force. He has installed an entire 4th full sized wall in his studio that runs all the way to the ceiling (about 15 feet). Visitors can enter only by climbing through a small trap door in the corner of the room. Once inside it takes some time to process where you are and what kind of space you have actually entered. It is a 360 splatter and swirl across walls and floor. The black paint and small space compress the room, but the vectors of imagery tip sensations into simultaneous expansion. It is a perceptual explosion. The walls are painted a deep black matte and the sprays are applied in high gloss. The smoky lighting makes it hard to determine if there is a horizon line, mist rising from the lighting, or if there actually is dust settling from an explosion. I couldn't help but feel that the piece seems to be about a lot of things- without being specifically about them at all. The installation is undoubtedly dark, but not specifically or personally. I only had hints of what had unfolded for me while I was there, but after leaving I felt like I had experienced something reminiscent of prison cells, Hurricane Katrina, car bombings, and Abu Ghraib... For me, his work had unleashed and given a formless presence to the innumerable "dark" events that shape our present-tense.