Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Studio Arts

Project Advisor 1

Lothar Osterburg

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Artist Statement

Ike Voorhees

Since the beginning of this process I had envisioned for my show to have a very specific atmosphere but which form the pieces that made up the show might look like was anyone’s guess.

Between freshman and junior year my art was essentially very print heavy. I took other art classes but I approached them in ways that allowed me to use more printmaking. I worked with collage in order to make the pieces larger and larger. They would begin disjointed and piecemeal but through the process of constructing a greater image, they would eventually all come together. My imagery tended to be graphic and illustrative. I drifted towards representational art because I found it more readily accessible than more abstract or nonobjective pieces. It showed the darker side of humanity with all the war and pain we have historically heaped upon ourselves. Even with such a broad subject I felt that I was repeating the same thing over and over; as a result, I forced a transition and abandoned that line of work.

At the beginning of senior year I was looking for new themes. During a moment of self-reflection I remembered working with wire as a child and I picked up a few spools at the local hardware store. I had planned to make abstracted satellites and ships but as I worked the forms became more and more insect-like. I submitted to that inclination and let the work do what it wanted. These pieces, however, were static and unmoving so I introduced the mobile into the mix. These changes were a shift from the figurative work of my past and while it was a transition it brought with it a certain amount of calm. For the work to be convincing there is a certain level of stress that is necessary when portraying human suffering and this can wear on the mind. The new line of work was entirely different, free from self-imposed constraints I simply made. These additions brought more ideas and eventually led to a considerable leap in scale from small wire creatures to the larger behemoths they ultimately became.

When I chose Fisher to be my exhibition space I took many pictures of the gallery and the lobby and scribbled ideas for piece-placement over them. This lead to the realization that the final objects would need to be massive in scale or the emptiness of the space would overwhelm them. I experimented with different materials and settled on bamboo and reed for their flexibility and lightness. Interestingly, the process of assembling print collages was very similar to the act of constructing these larger sculptures whereby the unplanned assembly process informs the final product. Integrating a two dimensional composition and a three dimensional space turned out to be intrinsically related; my past experience with printmaking played a large part in how the final show turned out.

One of my greatest challenges was moving out of the safety and privacy of my studio into the public gallery where I was in people’s way a lot of the time. As it turned out, this fear was groundless and I found that working in the larger, cleaner space allowed for a much more natural flow of ideas. I realized that I needed both spaces to successfully create: the mess and disorder of the studio where ideas are thrown together haphazardly and one sifts the good from the bad - like sand through a screen - and the stark emptiness of the gallery where those same ideas can be refined, away from the chaos and clutter. In this exhibit once can see remnants of past ideas peeking through: insect forms, abstracted sails and ships all are all embedded in the final mosaic.

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