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Megaliths, Continuous and Silent, Stuctures of Unknown Significance

The images below show some of my stone+air artworks constructed recently
from stones found at the sculpture fields at Hogpen Hill Farms in Woodbury,
Connecticut. Not all artworks shown are finished, and most undergo a process
of editing and revision lasting for several months after initial construction.

I think of the pieces as being made from two materials, stone and air.
Much of thinking about the works is devoted to seeing and reasoning
about the airspaces generated by positioning the stone. The work is
also installation art; the artist controls the artwork's location, shapes
the surrounding land, creates platforms for views, and plants architectural
evergreens nearby.

As the works are completed, I will try to write more about them.
For now, here are some artworks that are, I hope, beyond words.

Megalith with 6 Elements, 2013, stone and air, 32 x 20 x height 15 feet or 10 x 6 x height 4.5 meters
Ace the dog, height 27 inches or 70 centimeters

Below, I-beam megalith, 2013, stone, steel, air, 23 x 11 x height 15 feet or 7.0 x 3.4 x height 4.6 meters
Ace the dog, height 27 inches or 70 centimeters

Below, Breaching Whales, 2012, stone and air, 17 x 12.5 x height 15 feet or 5 x 4 x height 4.5 meters

Showing the linked continuity of the rambling megaliths:

A prop piece, as a large stone is propped up by a smaller supporting stone.
In making a prop piece, the angle of intersection requires careful study.

Below, the yellow tool (a pick) is about 42" long (for scaling);
the unusual image color-processing helps place the trees in the
background and accent the stone surfaces:

A continuous flowing piece designed as a whole around
the 4 major airspaces in gaps between vertical supports:

The Walking Wall, with ramped access to the top surface.
I had the High Line in mind, as even this modest elevation
here (about 34") results in a substantial shift of viewpoint.
The supporting wall breaks away from traditional walling
("maximize volume of stone in a wall") by creating airspaces
and see-throughs to make a lacy wall. So the wall is about
30% to 40% air. Air is a material.

Both the gate and the sphinx are about 18 feet or 5.5 meters in height:

We fractured these stones, resulting in cubist three-dimensionality.
Fracturing exposes fresh bright colors, planes, edges inside the
original unbroken stone. This piece continues on for about 40 feet
or 12 meters, at varying heights up to 16 feet or 5 meters.

Two huge megaliths, 80 to 100 tons of stone total. I forget about raw
mass/tonnage a few weeks after putting such artworks together, but
during construction it is about overcoming gravity, de-massing, making
the airspace and stonespace optically move, even float, without weight.
And about careful rigging practices and safety ("Never get under a live
load." "Stones can bounce when they fall." "Keep your hands and body
away from pinch points."). The piece in the background here also appears
in the first two images beginning this report.

Below, I started working with Dan Snow in January 2012. We first did
these lacy walls, with the upper part only one stone wide. Some old walls
in Ireland are wonderfully lacy with see-throughs and good airspaces.
Dry walling (without concrete or filler) usually requires that each stone
touch 4 others, which is usually the case in these two lacy walls.

The images below show the process for making these artworks.
Dan Snow, the amazing stone worker and waller, worked
with me on many stone pieces.

Here I am happily cleaning up newly constructed megaliths.
The water etches out cracks in the stone and also reveals
the complex surface texture of the stone.

These two images show my messing-around clay sandboxing (at 1/48 scale),
photographs, and lots of sketches that help reason about the air and stone.
But the final architecture of the work is done at full scale with real stones.
Complex air-spaces and stone-spaces are notoriously difficult to understand
by means of flatland sketches/photographs and scale models. A much richer
understanding is achieved during the actual construction and the follow-up
revisions (which may take several months). Still, scale models, handwaving,
and flatland sketching/photography contribute. Whatever it takes.

-- Edward Tufte


-- Smith (email)


-- Smith (email)


-- Smith (email)

Threads relevant to sculpture:
Ace and Porta do multimedia
Bird Series
Aluminum and stainless steel; many, many pieces moving in the air.
Bouquet sculpture series--and Walking, Seeing, Constructing
Beginning of Bouquet series (now 7); along with theoretical statement beginning the volume 5 project.
Buddha with Bird Nest: sculpture
Complex sculptural shapes
Dear Leader I: landscape sculpture May 2006
Narrative piece about some mysterious porcelain objects in a stainless steel perspective box.
Dog sculpture (Porta the Portuguese Water Dog)
ET Modern
ET museum/gallery in the Chelsea Art District in New York 2010-2013.
ET show at George Champion Modern Shop
ET gallery show in Woodbury, Connecticut.
Escaping Flatland sculptures
Ten large stainless steel pieces in the landscape generate many views and painted color fields as the sun moves across the sky and the season changes.
Feynman Diagrams, Edward Tufte sculptures and exhibits
The Conceptual and Cognitive Art of Feynman Diagrams. Art show + 16 page essay.
Flame Theater
Georgia O'Keeffe and Escaping Flatland
Hogpen Hill #1: sculpture installed August 2006
First major piece (24 feet light, stainless steel) installed in new 122 acre sculpture park underway in Woodbury, Connecticut.
Ironstone artworks, torqued steel
Magritte's Smile
Masks Quartet, 2011
bronze casting
Millstone sculpture series
Massive industrial pieces sorting out circles and light. Redesigning and repurposing scrap from nuclear power plant.
Multiplicity in visual experiences (ET presentation for a museum show)
Nine reviews of ET's Aldrich Museum sculpture show
ET museum show in Connecticut 2009-2010

Paradox sculptures
Petals 1-3
Aluminum hyperbolic paraboloids in the landscape reflect light and shadow. The pieces move with the contour of the land.
Philosophical Diamond Signs
Philosophical alerts, imperatives, and thoughts about the path past and future.
Rocket Science
~32 feet (10 m) high and ~72 feet (22 m) long, and is constructed from ~48,000 pounds (22,000 kg) of rusting scrap steel
Rocket Science #2 (Lunar Lander)
Rocket Science 3: Airstream Interplanetary Explorer
Sculpture Forgings
Steel forging mounted on wood base. Blacksmithing video.
Sculpture: Negative space studies
Three table pieces; strong positive elements create active negative volumes (the air) to torque. Movies.
Seeing Around: New ET essay published
Skewed Machine
Spring Arcs, an ET landscape sculpture
Four solid stainless steel arcs in the landscape. Long thread, many photographs on meaning, construction, viewing of the piece.
Stainless steel images: anisotropic calligraphy
Big series of engraved 3D anisomorphic images that move with light.
Steel sculptures
Rough, thick, rusting steel, with surface images in the steel's patina.
Table sculptures
About a dozen major table pieces in wood, steel, stainless steel.
The Drawing Center fax show: ET exhibits
The Twigs: Landscape artworks made from steel and air
The beautiful Twig. Steel, 32 feet high, with accompanying thread on reading the piece and the complexities of modeling large 3D objects.
Theater Museum artworks
Tong Bird of Paradise
Towers: a new memorial for 9/11
Visual complexities of light, shadow, perpsective. Perforated stainless steel.
ZZ Smile (Zerlina's Smile)

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