My pendant works originated with a drip painting that was actually a comment on the care that has to be taken to produce the illusion of spontaneity. That in itself will tell you something about the realist position I take, but regardless of that, I got involved with the process and started thinking about ways to make it spatial, which will tell you something about how tangential I can be. I tried dripping paint down lengths of string, but the string itself seemed to take over from the action of the paint, so I let it lie.
Some time later though, having made a series of tapes for The Planes, I had some spares to play with, and with the colours having to be very clean and spaced equidistant along the colour spectrum so that they could be easily differentiated, they were quite lively. So for my first go at a pendant I used them as a way of placing the colour wheel in space. The support was two pieces of ply with holes drilled in them for the ends of tapes to pass through, and to secure them I used fold-back clips.
A while later I had prepped a big batch of cotton tape and, as it was hanging to dry, I was struck by its serenity. Allowing gravity to shape the form seemed to add a sense of stillness, as if they are fulfilling some sort of purpose just hanging there. I started thinking again about taking the colours into space in a more immersive way, and I landed on a method of passing the tapes over wire on a mesh and securing with fold-back clips. The advantage of this was that light could pass through the mesh from above, and so the work could occupy more room.
I was interested in playing with spectacle, but in a way that it might be tamed, made accessible for the viewer, which is probably a bit of a dead-end, since a thing is either overwhelming or it isn’t, but that was the touchpoint. It occurred to me to make work that from a distance appears overwhelming but that you could walk through, touch and see the makings, like the strings I’d had a go at before. This resulted in Gotta Zip.
Since then I’ve added motors to turn circular pendants around. This was in response to an observation I made about sculpture in museums, where they have a tendency to place them against walls as if they were flat. I’ve also allowed fans to throw the tapes around, which works with those that are loose at the bottom. On these, the natural twist of the cotton dictates the transitions, while on those that are fixed the composition is more determined.
There are more pendants in the pipeline, so join the mailing list to hear about them as they come up.