Panelling, Walls and Onflow
Panelling, Walls and Onflow
Morgan: “Panelling” is an imposing 22“ feet high (6.71 meters) structure with a surface made of a multitude of boards with colors running from light yellow green through yellows to light and then darker browns. But it is the ‘grain’ of the boards that emerge to completely occupy my attention. It seems that each board shows its own process of ‘graining’ going on, as if there is a forest somewhere where lumber with extraordinary qualities has been extracted and is being shown to us for the first time.
But when I realize that each board is hand painted or printed by you I have to ask, how is this immense process accomplished? There is an awful lot going on! Could you please describe how this monumental piece came to be?
LoMele: I’d been making drawings of water for a number of years (waves, streams, cascades) both from life and out of my head, choosing this as my focus in the hope that the exercise might guide me to methods for conveying flow in visual terms. I was at the same time attracted to wood grain as a static manifestation of flow. I liked that wood grain was a natural fit for an art wall covering, solid and mundane, and also connecting to both nature and tropes of warmth and domestic culture. I deliberately chose to follow a spirit of flow in my approach to coming up with my own wood grain patterns, internalizing this flow stance in my approach to this mark making. That is, I was trying to be flow myself, not having an intention or goal for my process, apart from practicing it for a while. That has turned out to be many years. Maybe others also feel the need to impose an inner discipline on themselves, a structure of sorts, in their personal development – through art.
Morgan: As your work progresses after “Panelling”, it seems to begin to fill large wall spaces and conforming to site specific locations. What was the genesis of this newer project?
LoMele: The “Walls” installation came about as a response to the challenge of utilizing a large wall in the Hatchery Art Spaces where I’d already presented “Panelling” as a vertical installation. My intention was to expand the concept of flow as I’d been practicing it in pattern making, to include architectural spaces. The idea was to present consecutive spaces, myself, and time- all as intersecting/conflating elements, in a changing and never completed flow. Thus, I started with the recreation, to scale, of two walls of my art studio (in paper), including window openings, moldings, power outlets, etc.,to represent an origin point for this process. I made the choice to represent all wall surfaces using the wood grain/flow patterns I’d been developing, regardless of whether the represented walls were actually constructed of wood. I considered that these patterns stood in for me in this grouping of elements. Next, I installed this large paper wall representing both my studio space, and me, onto the much larger Hatchery wall. As you can see in the photo, this meant that the actual Hatchery wall became an element in the installation, both surrounding my paper studio walls, and revealed through the window openings in the paper wall. For this reason I chose to call this installation “Walls”. The next step in this process involved my recreating the Hatchery walls as already “attached” to my studio walls by means of this installation, before then moving the entire set into another space. This would travel first to Arts Visalia, and after that to Marshall Arts in Memphis TN, changing and expanding or contracting each time. At these further stages I referred to it as “Onflow”, preferring to emphasize the flow aspect over the walls aspect. I see this as a process of snowballing – this picking up of wall elements as the installation flows through different spaces. Also, I think of it as a geologic process, where you can distinguish an often confusing record of accumulated experience at each stage.
This parallel of a geologic process is especially evident in looking at the separate pieces which “broke off” from the installation, much like erratic boulders. These
came about as parts of the larger installation needed to be trimmed off to fit around the doors or windows of the new spaces into which the whole was being fitted, as with “Gift Shop Door” (around a gift shop door).
Gift Shop Door
Sometimes this entailed trimming off the height as well, as with “Cropped from Elevation”.
Cropped from Elevation
Onflow (1) Stop Motion Installation Sequence, photography by Myra Margolin (click image center)
Onflow (2) Stop Motion Installation Sequence, photography by Myra Margolin (click image center)
Morgan: In another project using ‘wood grain’ that you have done, “Understory” which is related to the larger “Burn Pile” Project seen in the last installment here, I am again seeing a very engaging set of works made to be free hanging wall pieces. For me these read as structured compositions unto themselves. How do these works fit into greater project of “Burn Pile”?
Every Night I Went to Sochi
LoMele: These “Understory” pieces represent the undersides of wooden dining tables, to varying degrees of literalness. In making the different domestic elements to heap up for “Burn Pile” installations, with an emphasis on objects you’d expect to be made from wood, I came to table shapes, and especially loved the under structures of dining tables. Because I’d been using writing over wood grain patterns as an element in this larger project, I followed through with that use of writing in developing these pieces. I felt that these pieces could stand on their own, both visually and conceptually, separate from the larger project. I liked the sense of underheard and incomprehensible conversations, perhaps as listened to by a child under the table. The words I used all derived from the material I’d been collecting through the Burn Pile/Confidence Booth project, and as such were garbled-yet-suggestive. My technique of writing very faintly over the patterned background, and then emphasizing the negative spaces between the words and letters with heavier lines (a technique partially suggested by Islamic calligraphy traditions), further obscured the likelihood of making any sense from the words, I hope creating a surface both decorative and suggestive of natural processes.
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