It goes without saying that I owe my gratitude to Paul Amenta who has invited me to participate in SiTE:LAB’s ArtPrize exhibition for the second year in a row. Here he is hard at work helping to construct Habitat. Many thanks, Paul! It has been a pleasure once again!
#25! Almost there! The window pane in this diorama is covered with mesh that corresponds with the lines of the landscape inside the diorama. The window glass will be installed and seal the mesh inside.
We are in the home stretch of completing Habitat and I could not have gotten this far without my number one assistant, my wife, Florencia Minniti. She has been ever so supportive and working extremely hard to facilitate the building out of the dioramas. Here she is in action.
For the bear diorama, I have built two walls that cantilever out the diorama and split it into three parts. Each section will be lit differently and viewers will have the opportunity to walk into the black void between the two walls.
From elk to beavers to coyotes and now to moose! Here, I am building a platform that extends from the background of the diorama into the main hall space. Much like the science of the diorama, this piece plays on perspective and viewers will have the unique opportunity to walk into the diorama.
Last year, Matthew Power was in Grand Rapids to write a story on ArtPrize for GQ Magazine. He spent a few weeks with us at SiTE:LAB, getting to know the organizers and artists and saw our reactions as the Top 10 artworks by popular vote were revealed. The article, So You Think You Can Paint, is not yet available to read online, but you can download a pdf version of it here.
The article caused quite a stir in Grand Rapids over its scrutiny of the DeVos family and its critical view of ArtPrize. NBC’s Wood 8 reporter, Crystal Hilliard stopped by SiTE:LAB to follow up with us about our reactions to the GQ article. See what we have to say here plus see my work in progress!
Through the use of the grid, I am constructing a bridge that will extend from the beaver diorama to the coyote diorama. Playing on the beaver’s sense of construction, this piece connects the beavers’ habitat to that of a potential predator and changes the perspective for the viewer.
With the help of my wife, Florencia Minniti and last year’s all-star volunteer, Bob Rogers, Paul Amenta, and Alex, the Elk diorama is coming together. It has taken four days and will be the biggest build of Habitat.
I have started to delve into the dioramas in the Grand Rapids Public Museum for Habitat. I have begun to map out the grid in the elk diorama which will be completely filled, much like Spire. It will eventually be painted matte black.
It was a long drive but Paul Amenta and I made it to Grand Rapids with the art work. Now it’s time to start work on Habitat!