Accidental Oxidation

Having lunch with my friend Grace DeGennaro recently, we bumped into a new installation by Maine sculptor and Bowdoin College lecturer John Bisbee at Coleman Burke Gallery -- Bowdoin's exhibition space at Ft. Andross in Brunswick, Maine. Bisbee's installation is a three-part project titled Switch. This segment, Patch, is comprised of interlocking oxidized nail clusters which will eventually evolve as Bisbee transforms to Ridge and finally, Mound.

John Bisbee Switch: Patch Coleman Burke Gallery, Brunswick, Maine

The monumental geometric mass of Bisbee's spikes resting against the wooden floor -- all 10,000 pounds of it -- was definably impacting. Talk about transcending the materials… it looked like a highly organized pile of fall leaves, quietly present in the deserted gallery space. How could this hefty mass settle so easily into and bond with the architectural details of the exhibit?

This is a question of art, and a question of the nature of art that we, as creatives, are continually faced with. Is our art born by chance, or predetermined by other means? How do we know?

The work of my contemporaries, such as Bisbee in this case, is a lever I utilize which forces me to look more deeply into my own process and perspective; to seek a clarity that I must ignore on a day-to-day basis in order to sustain a viable studio practice. Still, the questions do remain.

No, I do not consider my work to be accidental. But I do allow chance to be a factor in my process.
I discover something about myself by moving outside of my comfort zone, such as taking abstract photographs of found objects and random occurrences to keep the concept of possibility fresh and open within me.

John Bisbee Switch:Patch detail

It is a balance between letting go and adhering to principles which I have found to be reliable. Hopefully unhappy accidents occur as infrequently as possible, but they do happen.

Kate Beck Found Object.3.12.07

Letting go is the obvious way to progress. But, is it accidental?

Just have to keep looking….


Fiona said...

I think that your found image is very beautiful and serene as a found image but if it was a painting I would think it lacked direction, no bite really. I agree that letting go, or taking risks, is an obvious way to progress. But as a deliberate act it is not accidental because you are in a sense observing yourself in order to learn from the risk you are taking. The result may not necessarily work but I don't think it can be accidental when it is a conscious choice.

Kate Beck said...

You are so right, Fiona -- and to me, you have just coined your journeying instinct.