Abstract Interpretation of Alexander Calder Sculpture, Two Disks
From 2009 through 2012, I made photographic studies of the Alexander Calder sculpture Two Disks that sits outside the Hirshhorn Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. I produced a new portfolio of images from these studies. What was most apparent to me was that the images are reminiscent of the Cubist and Expressionist stylistic era of Georges Braques, Pablo Picasso and Romare Bearden - artists whose work I greatly admire.
Intrigued by such a compelling stabile and location, I interpreted the sculpture and its setting by including the museum's facade and the crystalline blue sky above, each time I made photographs. I was drawn repeatedly to the shape of the disks and its internal structure, the texture of the museum walls and the gray, tonal palette of the sky. I made photographs of every possible angle, element and skylight. The juxtaposition of those elements in black and white brought me back to the Hirschhorn's courtyard time and time again during those three years.
My Calder study has evolved in 3 phases: There was the initial black and white study that lasted 3 years and formed the basis for subsequent interpretations. Second, there was an addition of a slight golden color mixed with the black of the black and white image.
It was during this phase that I discovered a very prominent "pyramidic" presence in the sculpture. They were first seen as triangles, but upon closer scrutiny and certainly indicative of intended extrapolation, if not my imagination, they became pyramids. And I found them throughout the sculpture; in many of my captures.
The pyramidic nuance, while seemingly far-fetched is actually spot-on when it comes to the artistic-aesthetic spirit. Where else do we, as artists, find artistic influences and inspiration, but in the assumed and the imagined. The artistic eye looks at something sometimes for hours, envisioning, imagining and contemplating that which might be and then we begins to execute commensurate with our chosen medium.
With Two Disks, I saw shape and the intrusion of light and adjacent textural facades and illuminating Sun. I honestly felt like I was in an active symbiotic interplay with the sculpture. There was a "siren song" drawing me to the sculpture time and time again, and that draw became almost humorously intense.
After each session, I felt "done" for that day, but I continued to play with the images in my mind on my way home, and throughout daily life. It wasn't until much later when I actually had a demonstrable sense that it was over – completed – that I felt finished for the day.
I would begin to plan the next session with my siren.