PaperCity Magazine

April 2019- Dallas

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69 New York's Armory and Miami's Art Basel. Those fairs are really fun, but really impossible. In those cities, I think you just end up cowering in your hotel room and meeting up with just the same people. Hassle to get around and make plans. Dallas has none of that. Did you start out as a sculptor? Yes. I appreciated the physicality of it. I like that sculpture takes the same space as your body does, and so there is a visceral component to it that I really liked. There is the potential for an erotic connection with the work that sometimes painting and two-dimensional work don't offer. That compelled me. It was more direct artwork — a direct way of working. I felt that sculpture was a quicker way to get to purer ideas, representing ideas anyhow. And that was at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Yes, at Cranbrook. It seems that sculpture might be difficult to start out in — a difficult medium to work in for a variety of reasons. First off, cost. Not that canvas is cheap. Like anything, it depends on what you are doing. Sculpture could be as time- consuming as you want it to be. It can also be as expedient as you want it to be. It can go in lots of different ways. I've seen lots of economically made sculpture that's terrific; it's just not my language. I guess I'm thinking more about your recent body of work: monumental sculpture, which wouldn't be terribly easy to churn out as an undergrad. There's nothing easy about it. When I was an undergrad and graduate student, what I was doing wasn't as complicated. There are all kinds of requirements. There's a space requirement … and especially in New York, that's very challenging. There, of course, is time investment. That is challenging. All of it is challenging. It's probably harder to find a market for sculpture. Paintings don't occupy as much physical space in a collection. I try not to think of that aspect of it, but there is the reality. Let's get into the work. There is your series of … shall we say, Greco-Roman sculptures. They are decayed sculptures of a variety of origins. Sometimes there is a permanent, perishable, fresh object on them. They are perishable and represent perishable objects. They are rendered in such a way that they stay permanently fresh. These are life-size? What you might see at The Met in the Greco-Roman galleries? They are like garden sculptures. Similar to garden-scale, I would say. Cast in bronze? There are two components to the work. There's the support aspect, which is decayed statuary that is sometimes cast in concrete and weathered, sometimes marble. We've now started moving into bronzes that we are deforming and decaying. And then there's the additional element: the "annotations," as I call them. The embellishments, which are the perishable objects, are usually cast in bronze and then painted to look real. Or, they are cast in a variety of plastics and painted to look real and then attached to that support object. So, two components. The statuary component, which is often sourced. Sometimes I find them on eBay or antique dealers. Oh, so these are found objects? The statues? Most of them. Generally, those types of garden sculptures are concrete. Yes, then when I get them I sometimes sandblast them to reveal the aggregate and the armature inside to make them look really, really beat-up. I have to seek them out. Sometimes I do have to have them fabricated, but there is a fair amount of my hand involved in the support objects. For all intents and purposes, though, they are found objects. You have a series that are the more lifelike representations of people. Yes, hyper-realist representations. How are those created? I taught myself how and, of course, those earlier ones were more crude. The more recent ones have a little more fidelity. When I was starting out, I didn't have the funds to hire a special-effects team, so I taught myself how to do it, which is still kind of the case. Everything is done in my studio. I have a team of guys that I teach how to do this stuff. And that is basically how everything gets done still. The recent ones are incredibly lifelike. Yes, some of them are very good. There was the installation in San Francisco that had a levitating guy. He really hovered above the floor, like a David Copperfield moment. How was that done? I couldn't see wires anywhere. He has a flannel shirt that grazes the ground and that's where the support mechanism resides and allows him to seem as if he is levitating. Was it site-specific? Will the sculptures at the Joule be specific to the space? I've never created a site-specific work. I've maybe adapted something to fit in a location. When you put one of your sculptures into the public arena, it will take on a different narrative or create a unique dialogue given the audience of where it is being placed. I did a piece, titled Sleepwalker, which relates to that idea. You mean the sleepwalking man in his underwear that caused a stir at Wellesley College? That's a great example of something really shifting within its context. A year later, Sleepwalker was placed on the High Line in New York City to a Tony Matelli Tony Matelli's Atlas, 2016 (continued on page 70)

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