Wednesday, March 16, 2011

when stones are thrown...

a preview of my show, stone's throw, opening tonight from 6-8

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in the fall of 2008, a month or so after my grandmother died, i visited her sculpture studio and brought home several stones she had started to work on but never finished. these stones resonated with me because they were in process and unresolved - existing somewhere between nature and sculpture. i also found in her studio a small piece of paper on which she had written a quote by henry moore. while i tentatively approached the use of these stones in a series of drawings in early 2009, it wasn’t until the spring of 2010, during a residence at chinati, that i began to find ways to work in deeper conversation with the stones, returning for the first time in nearly 20 years to the idea of making work based on observing things in the manner of making a still life. of course, i was not interested in making a still life, but i wanted to allow the stones to challenge my process.

as i began these works, a number of reference points participated in the conversation: the hermetic and intimately personal nature of jasper john's post-70's paintings (as well as the similarity of his hatch marks to my grandmother’s chiseling), chinese scholar rocks, a small display of crystals and stones i pondered on a desk in goethe's house in weimar 8 years ago, christian wolff's score "stones" which i have carried in my wallet for years, some early films of dennis oppenhiem of his hands, gary beidler's film “hand held day”, jackson pollock’s awkward 1953 painting “portrait and a dream” - and most importantly the way certain analog activities and materials - hands, stones, paper, pencils, paint, celluloid film, drawing, wrapping, rubbing, etc. - seemed to relate more to a history of ritual, than to contemporary art (i'm talking about the inside, not the outside).

in the process of working on paintings, drawings, sculpture, film and sound, the stones were not only referenced for visual decisions, but were, at times, combined with self-devised scores based on the vowel structure or musical note structure (a-g) of my grandmother’s henry moore quote...

i’ve titled the show “stone’s throw” not only because of its reference to stones, but also because i like how the phrase is used to describe a short, yet inconsistent, distance from a source. the works in the exhibition exist in their finished forms a “stone’s throw” away from the stones that fueled their making... obviously, some remain a lot closer to their sources than others...

steve roden, march, 2011

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Paul Yates said...

The paintings and sculptures look great. Hope the show goes well.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous luca bergero said...

steve... really interesting to read about you work process. any incoming exhibition here in italy? ciao... luca

11:34 AM  
Blogger Christine White said...

beautiful.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Joey said...

Simply fantastic work! Congrats Steve!

8:13 AM  

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