Tilted and Folded, 2007
Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design Gallery
Georgia State University
Veneering, the process of overlaying an ordinary material with a fine layer of decorative surface, is the rich conceptual territory where image as we know it in the media of art intersects with the built environment or architecture. As it makes visible the astounding beauty of the hidden inner layers of many species of wood, veneering simultaneously obscures and reveals. Veneers plays with alterations of nature and the thinness of surfaces as high resolution scans of extinct or banned woods are resuscitated as pure color and image. Images inherent in the wood tend, as do so many botanical or biological figures, to look like or suggest many other images: horizons, moonscapes, sea swirls, mountain ranges. While always recognizable as having originated in wood, these images are open to multiple readings, and these interpretations are welcome. Images based on altered wood grain are simultaneously familiar and new. The wood used in Tilted and Folded is Zebra Wood, Mahogany Crotch and Tamo Ash, species that are all endangered. They appear in this project as digitally enhanced, colorized ghosts of themselves, ‘bleeding’ their exaggerated red hues into space.
The incorporation of stained glass in buildings has historically been a means of imparting an otherworldly or ‘divine’ aspect to their presence. Colored glass has a way of seeming to capture light, of holding onto it for a moment; light, thus captured, is newly perceived and enjoyed. Having always been produced by highly skilled hand craftsmen, the media has become relatively rare since the middle of the 20th century. It is rarely included in every-day buildings, and with the exception of religious buildings, it is rarely included today in architecture at all.
Increased demand for bullet-, blast- or wind- proof glass has led to developments in interlayer technology by the safety glass industry. In this strengthening process sheet printed film is inserted between two sheets of glass that are then heated and co-joined. Now, as a byproduct of our culture of fear, instead of being accessible in only sacred or historic spaces, this new high tech “stained” glass could restore the media to more frequent use.
The metaphors cultivated by the Veneers are complementary to the ironies of the transparency and apparent ephemera of the safety glass. The effect of thinness and transparency in this massive blast-proof glass is “just a veneer”. In this case the veneer is turned inside-out. It is captured within the structural surface rather than laying on top of it to hide it.
Bench Mahogany Crotch
Tall Tilt Zebra Wood
Wide Tilt Tamo Ash