Above photo shows Outgrowth 2 in low light. It changes a lot with different lighting. It measures 6' x 6' x 6' centered on a floor corner of my poured-concrete basement. It is made entirely out of hyperbolically woven glass and reflective acrylic beads. And lots and lots of clear Gorilla tape. The piece can be dismantled and recreated elsewhere as a temporary installation or a permanent, outdoor piece with clear caulk.
I'm very happy with this. I was very happy with Outgrowth 1, but number 2 turned out better than expected. The big difference between the two was the mosaic wall placement. For Outgrowth 1, I used the irrational number "e" (2.7182818284590452353602874713...).
It is a number that shows up in population growth so I used it to place the mossy areas along the crack between to the three surfaces and onto the planes. It gave it a more natural growth pattern and, even better, I didn't have to fuss over where to place everything. I *did* fuss over where to place the wall tiles in Outgrowth I and it shows.
For Outgrowth 2, I decided to divide the two vertical walls into 10 equal sections with 5 straight lines emanating from the origin point in the corner. I attributed each of those lines a digit from 1 to 0. (I can't remember why I decided to put 0 at the end instead of the beginning.) ((If anyone has a reason it should be the other way around, please let me know!)) Then I placed a wall tile using the line as the axis of growth for that number.
I had blocked out two piles of colored tiles prior to installing. I wanted to keep same-color groups together so it would look like there were transitions to different colonies of lichen growing up the wall. Fun fact: the S curve in the final design did not appear in the original concept sketch. The S-curve fluctuates back and forth but remains centered on the growth axis.
It's hard to photograph this body of work because the light effects are luminosity- and angle-dependent. A still photo captures a tiny sliver of the experience. I'll be making more videos featuring each piece to give people a better idea of their visual dynamics and dimension.
The first video I did for this piece is fairly one-dimensional because it is a time lapse of the installation. I thought it would be fun to have little videos showing these pieces growing. The first one I made for Outgrowth 1 was terrible but got the point across. I'm learning. The video for Outgrowth 2 is a little better. (These are made with social media in mind.)
Here's a short video in which I am wearing the light source. For the next video I'll try a fixed light source behind the camera.
I finished Black Star Panopticon a few days ago. It is bead mosaic on a 26" x 26" security mirror. These are the security mirrors that show if a truck or person is coming around the corner of the loading dock or if a kid is putting a bag of Funyuns down their pants at 7-11. I installed strap hangers on the back because it will look great hanging flush on a wall. I still have the installation hardware it came with if someone has a loft and wants to install it in a corner.
Continuing with the formal aspects...since making Blue Star vase, I've been searching for another object with a mirrored surface because I still want to explore optical layering effects between the mirror, different qualities of glass beads and the reflective acrylic beads. I had considered doing a mosaic on a typical household decorative mirror, but wasn't excited about the idea because they are flat. Back in the day, doing art consulting and interiors I designed/ordered and installed a lot of decorative mirrors along with more typical art works. I was happy to find this mirror so I could add a dark industrial twist to domestic mirrors and enjoy working on a convex shape instead of settling on a flat mirror.
The tiles of the bead mosaic are little ~3/4" woven hexagons of only 12 beads. I got a nice net pattern out of them. It's obviously a hand-placed mosaic and not a precision CAD print, but the hexagons still give the piece an engineered fell about it.
Putting a security mirror in a strategic area of a home adds to the panoply of surveillance devices we have elected to live with. Someday, maybe I will find one of those interactive internet hubs people talk to in their homes and take a picture with BSP above it.
I want to make another one.
'Outgrowth Figure 1' was a temporary wall mural installed in early August 2020 made from the components I was making for a larger installation, 'Outgrowth 1.' It was a good way to get familiar with the temporary adhesives and work out how I was going to build things in the Outgrowth Series. The series is designed for temporary site-specific installations in galleries and outdoor seasonal exhibits. The components of the series are made out of woven glass and reflective acrylic beads.
The shapes of the components grow using the same algorithm. The larger pieces with more beads take on obvious hyperbolic, organic shapes. En masse the components appear to be growing colonies of climbing lichen or lush moss.
Negative space embellished figures from the 'Outgrowth' series can be interactive. If the mural is created on a light-colored wall with a strong light source behind, visitors' shadows will be cast onto the wall and animate the negative-space figures. The light source also makes the luminous reflective beads shine as the shadows pass beyond them.
I am researching sun colors for my disco ball sun. I am leaning toward a reddish pink ball like the artist Jules Breton was so good at painting. I'm thinking somewhere between pink grapefruit and blood orange. I haven't started testing color variations yet, but I have a pattern that evolved while working on Blue Sun. It has a good scale to get the texture I want and a little repeating spiral to make it dyanamic. Imagine the beaded tile to the left repeating all over a sphere. I have to look at more astronomical pictures of the sun to see how or whether I should flip the spirals going left and then right.
If you have ever been to the Art Institute of Chicago you have probably seen the picture above, "The Song of the Lark" from 1884. Although not a Regionalist piece, it resonated in sympathy with the midwestern aesthetic groundswell that brought "American Gothic" to fame.
Rising or setting, I like his suns. These photos don't do them justice. The top one below is called "The Weeders" or "The Gleaners". The title I am finding for the bottom one is "Tired Gleaner." I'm guessing Breton's real titles were in French.
I'm starting work on a mercury glass almost-globe vase. It's a study for a disco ball sun or-- if my proposal is accepted for Par Excellence--Saturn. Or both.
I want the reflective silvery surface to shine through the bead mosaic. I am learning some new bead tiling techniques inspired by of Gwen Fisher's blog. The modular tiles have nice voids that will hopefully give me a layered, dappled effect.
It's going to be a blue star because I don't think I need those colors for other projects. I can spare them. I will be using blue reflective beads and blue transparent, maybe some translucent 6/0 beads.
Back to Gwen Fisher...she is one of the hyperbolic and mathematical beaders. I love her work.
This project took me about 6 months from concept to installing it and taking pictures yesterday. Once the photos were in the can I was so relieved that I got everything done that I had a good cry.
This piece celebrates the power of the sun. In addition to playing with optics and light effects like all of my other pieces, this one harvests photons with solar collectors and photo-luminescent pigment. As my daughter informed me the piece has an Easter egg...when it gets dark this piece glows like a bioluminescent cove in a tropical paradise. The underpainting has a layer of a pigment called Blue Lit that glows from beneath the transparent and translucent beads.
The solar powered elements soak up sunlight all day and then when it gets dark enough they turn on their fairy lights.
I plan to exhibit "Solar Panels" for the Elmhurst Artist Guild's Winter Member's Show. The Guild has a 40" max width for the show so "Solar Panels" will be installed vertically. That will be fun to see!
Below is a video, shots of the piece in daylight, twilight, and dark modes, the prep studies, and a spin-off bowl that I made while making solar panels.
Thanks to the judge for the “In and Around-Vessels and Jewelry” exhibit at the Fine Line Art Center’s Kavanagh Gallery for the Merit Award in vessels. The show runs from June 18 through August 10, 2018 at the Fine Line Art Center in St. Charles, IL. The art work of many fine artisans and artists is on display. The show has a delightful variety of media and techniques.
The Fine Line Art Center is a gem. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the enriching classes, programs and exhibits on offer there.
Julie Mars' current events, projects, & inspirations.