Polychromatic Structures at Cristin Tierney Gallery

Tonight is the opening reception for my second solo exhibition at Cristin Tierney Gallery, entitled Polychromatic Structures. If I compare the work of my last show with Cristin, Allotropisms, with the work I’m producing now, I’m really pleased to see the different ways my sculptures have explored positive and negative space, color relationships, scale, phenomenology and the representational possibilities posed by the cube over the years.

I have been working on the sculptures in Polychromatic Structures non-stop since returning from Mexico in February with Florencia Minnitti and interns Sandra, Jaime and Young, and I couldn’t be more excited to unveil them to the public for the first time tonight. I hope to see you all at the reception this evening, 9 April, from 6-8pm. The show will also be on view during the gallery’s normal hours through 16 May. Below are a few photos from the past few months, which show the preparations for Polychromatic Structures; please enjoy!

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Polychromatic Structures at Cristin Tierney Gallery

The First Stainless Steel Spinning Cube, Loma Cantabria, Mexico City

Earlier this year, I finished an incredibly exciting commission that took over six months to complete and pushed my work into totally uncharted territory: I produced my first stainless steel spinning cube. Commissioned by Desarrolladora del Parque in Mexico City, the cube is housed in the lobby of their Loma Cantabria building. Each side of the steel rods is a different color, and the cube features six colors total: red, yellow, blue, green, purple and silver. As the cube spins, the colors gradually shift to create a shimmering optical effect and sensations of expansion and contraction. It is displayed on a diagonal access, which gives the work an added dynamic energy and maximizes the viewer experience of the changes in color.

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As this was the first time I had ever worked in stainless steel, there was a lot of research and design that went into the cube’s production. First, I needed a fabricator. Anne-Marie Russell of MOCA Tucson and the Sarasota Museum of Art, with whom I worked on my first major institutional exhibition at MOCA in 2013, recommended Dave Lewis, an artist and fabrication specialist in Brooklyn. With Dave Lewis on board, the next step was designing a screw that could be used in the cube’s assembly. We needed 3,000 very small, special screws in order to fasten the rods together, which were eventually fabricated by US Micro Screw in California.

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Dave Lewis produced a primary version of the cube that measured 10 5/8” on each side and was colored silver, blue and yellow. Once he completed this prototype, we were ready to begin on the larger piece. We used 300 stainless steel rods to construct the 2-foot cube. GT Machine & Tool Company in Long Island City drilled holes in each rod using a CNC router machine, so that the rods could be screwed together. Dave Lewis then applied color to each side of each rod in Tom Lendvai’s wood work studio in Bushwick, in what was a laborious and painstaking process.

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The motor for the spinning cube and the fork to attach the cube to the motor also needed to be built to exacting specifications. Jarred Metz, in Red Hook, fabricated both of these items with an astounding level of precision and skill. With 3 rotations per minute, the motor’s cycle is perfectly timed for the most visual impact.

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Once we had all of the pieces in place, we were ready to assemble the cube. It took Florencia Minnitti, Eduardo Abraham and myself 70 hours to screw the rods together, and the resulting cube weighed 40 pounds. Enrique Macotela, architect and partner at Desarrolladora del Parque, designed a mirrored base for the artwork, and local engineer Javier Torices fabricated the base. I installed the completed cube and the base with Florencia Minnitti in February during the ZONA MACO art fair, and it remains on permanent view at Loma Cantabria.

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It was absolutely fabulous to work with Dave Lewis as the fabricator and also with Jarred Metz, who designed several generations of motors in service of this project. A very special thanks also goes to the fantastic Enrique Macotela, Enrique Tellez, Enrique Enciso and Jorge Henriquez of Desarrolladora del Parque both for their continuous support, and for hosting the initial cocktail party with Raiza Larios during which I first proposed the kinetic sculpture. This project was a major accomplishment for me, and it represents an exciting new direction in my practice. Now that the cube has been unveiled, I’m looking forward to continuing to work in steel and metal and to see where else these materials will take me. There were many photos taken over the realization of the cube in order to document the project, and I hope you will enjoy perusing them below.

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The First Stainless Steel Spinning Cube, Loma Cantabria, Mexico City

Introducing the Wall Grid Structure Series

I’ve recently begun working on a new series of wall grid structures in the studio. They represent an exciting development in my work and a deepening of my understanding of my main materials, basswood and ink. I’m continuing to engage with color relations, spatial perception and the architectural structure of the cube, but with these new structures I’m now also exploring how I can project my sculptures into 3D space by co-opting the wall: a place largely reserved for flat works.

I am very pleased to be presenting these new wall grid structures at ZONA MACO in Mexico City next week, where I will be showing with Cristin Tierney Gallery in Booth E-212. I will also be attending the fair, so join me in Mexico to see them in person, and please feel free to take some photos! We will be using the hashtags #cubosdecolores #cubosycuadernos and #interioryexterior at ZONA MACO, and we invite you to tag your photos on social media at the fair.

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A wall grid structure in progress
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Wall grid structure (detail)
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Wall grid structure (detail)
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Eduardo working on a new cube
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Raiza Larios has been generous enough to let me use her studio at Plaza Carso in Polanco as I’m preparing for ZONA MACO
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None of this would be possible without the dedicated Florencia Minniti, my partner in life and work
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Works in progress with a new wall structure in the background
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An aerial view of works in progress
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Cubes and clothespins
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We have taken our mission to always be surrounded by art to heart in Mexico City
Introducing the Wall Grid Structure Series

Towers at EXPO Chicago

In addition to Grid Structure #1 at EXPO Chicago, I installed a site-specific piece in Cristin Tierney Gallery’s booth. I placed two separate works entitled Tower B/W and Tower Color perpendicular to each other on a small pedestal at the corner of the booth. The works – both 8 feet tall – played off the booth’s existing and nonexistent architecture, creating their own infrastructure. From below, the pieces worked nicely against the backdrop of the exhibition hall’s ceiling. I also enjoyed how the works interacted with the artworks hung on the walls. I found that it was an interesting dialogue between my work and Richard Galpin’s, with whom I will be showing at UNTITLED Miami this December.

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Towers at EXPO Chicago

Grid Structure #1, Configuration #2 at EXPO Chicago

I very much enjoyed my time in Chicago at EXPO Chicago, working on a new configuration of Grid Structure #1. Over the course of two days, I reconstructed this formerly unique, site-specific piece to fit into a new space. With that, new architectural and spatial considerations were taken into account and a new configuration was created. It was great to see the work against a new backdrop and from farther vantage points than those at the Bruce Museum.

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Grid Structure #1, Configuration #2 at EXPO Chicago

Shifting Perspectives of Grid Structure #1, Configuration #2

The new environment at EXPO Chicago has lent itself to new perspectives and new vantage points for Grid Structure #1. As I mentioned in my previous post, there were additional considerations that I had to work with in this space but working through those has allowed for a rich and diverse experience of the work. Here is a selection of my favorite angles from Configuration #2.

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Shifting Perspectives of Grid Structure #1, Configuration #2

Installing Grid Structure #1 in Chicago

The opportunity to present Grid Structure #1 at EXPO Chicago in a different space was very exciting for me and also somewhat challenging. Using the same 22 cubes from the installation at the Bruce Museum, I created the second configuration within Festival Hall at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Light is always of utmost importance to my site-specific pieces and in this case, it was interesting for me to see the piece entirely back-lit. This caused a silhouette of the work to form from one vantage point. From the other sides, the colors were beautifully illuminated and strikingly vibrant.

My other concern was the distance. At the Bruce Museum, there was a very limited distance from which one could view the work. At EXPO Chicago, the space surrounding Grid Structure #1 was much larger and much more open. Within this context, my work takes on a new look, a new personality of sorts.

I really enjoyed working on this new challenge. I have to thank Rachel Kaplan of EXPO Chicago for all of her help with the logistics as well as Tony Karman for bringing the piece here. Additional thanks to Florencia Minniti for her hard work as well.

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Installing Grid Structure #1 in Chicago