The InTouch project is the creation and presentation of alluring human-scaled hands-on sculptural objects that invite the viewer to touch the art-- and in so doing share social experiences in real time. My biomorphic interactive sculptures will be made of the wool and felt for which my work has become known, offering audiences the opportunity to have a tactile experience with novel forms and materials and engage as playfully or seriously as desired. The exhibition will be presented in January of 2020 at the de Saisset Museum on the campus of Santa Clara University.
With this ambitious project I'm scaling up every aspect of my practice: the work itself is much larger and will incorporate new techniques of construction; I'm involving volunteers and assistants to help with the making of the sculpture; I moved into a larger studio space to accommodate the oversized artwork and helpers; and the exhibition itself will be my largest solo show to date, filling two galleries at the de Saisset.
Below you'll find an overview of each of the three multi-component sculptural elements, still very much in development. If you’d like to get involved with the making of this project or follow its progress please join my mailing list. Please see my instagram feed for updated behind-the-scenes progress photos.
THANK YOU: The launch of the InTouch Project is made possible through the generous support of the following Founding Patrons: Mark and Laura Deem, Valerie Hopkins, Jaime and Lorsen Koo, Sandra Moll and Rick Holden, Byron and Elizabeth Ryono, Joanne Johnson and Robert Graham, Penny and David Pride, Susan and Larry Jessie, Loren Schaffzin, Lisa Goetsch and Bob Scheussler, Todd Wilder, and Karen Ryer and Patricia Sargent. My sincerest thanks for your support.
Viewers will initially encounter ‘Holdable’ sculptures filling most of the first gallery. Vaguely familiar organic and geometric shapes constructed from thick stitched industrial felt, Holdables may at first glance resemble stone or metal. Rounded, angular, squat, elegant, blocky, and hollowed shapes will suggest actions or uses in the vein of Franz West’s ‘Adaptives,’ placing physical and interpretive demands on the viewer in a highly individual experience. Visual cues including mirrors on the walls and rugs on the floor will invite audiences to touch, hold, arrange, and get personal with the forms. The relatively lightweight, durable sculptures will vary in size from furniture-like to handheld to enlist visitors of all ages and abilities to interact.
Along two walls in the same gallery as the Holdables, ‘Shape Sheets’ can be creatively positioned by participants to create three-dimensional forms out of two-dimensional sheets of felt. Two-foot-square sheets of thick felt, when partially sliced in parallel strips, can be manipulated to make a variety of apparently three-dimensional forms by tricking the brain to visually fill in the negative spaces between the strips. Shape sheets can be positioned on the walls in a wide variety of patterns that bow, fold, stretch, and twist them as the grommeted corners of the sheets anchor over pegs on the walls. Audiences can experiment and test variations and patterns, potentially experiencing a new way of thinking about 2D versus 3D forms.
The ‘Hanging Pods’ will be mysterious white cocoon-like human-sized objects hanging in a dense group with enough space for people to walk among them, presented in the darkened gallery space and lit from above. Variations in their shapes, surface textures, weight, and solidity will reward curious participants with satisfying haptic information-gathering. Audiences can trace their hands over soft but dense wool formed into plump bulges that give way to firm ridges, puckers and scaly patterns that are more felt than seen as the suspended heavy masses gently sway in response to pressure. Aiming to present a more meditative experience, the Hanging Pods may provoke feelings of wonder, comfort, curiosity, or possibly claustrophobia.