The Aluminum Support

The crumpled surface paintings were an extension of an approach I utilized in some works I made several years ago using heavy paper. I have always been interested in painting as a physical object and I was looking for a new way to work with the painting surface. In particular I was interested in a process which did not require pre-conceiving what the final result would look like.

Since the final surface has a topology which is fairly random one could view the process of creating the support as another approach based upon automatism. The physical properties of the support, its surface topology, affects the painting process much in the same way as the automatic drawing does. The play of light on the raw aluminum surface, produced a complex array of forms, some which I chose ignore but others which ultimately suggested a path of inquiry for the painting. The beginning of the fabrication process does not need to know the end, allowing spontaneity in the painting process to be maintained.

The support has two components, a frame made of aluminum angle and the surface made of aluminum sheet. The surface is first crumpled and then attached to a multi-part aluminum frame with pop rivets.

The outside shape of the surface is rectangular but its surface is not flat. The supporting frame is constructed so the surface is suspended from the wall. This makes the surface appear to float with no struts visible within a normal viewing angle. The surface has a shape but the volume is defined by the swell and bumpiness of the surface and not by its sides like a slab.

The crumple of the surface is the random result of physical violence; I bash the metal. I made little attempt to control the outcome except for the general density of the bumps. Most of the surfaces are constructed of two or more sheets. Mating up and riveting together two or more randomly bent sheets further randomizes the end result.

At the right, the upper photograph is an unpainted support about 40 inches (102 cm) wide. The upper and lower boundaries are convex relative to the supporting wall accounting for the curved shape of the lower shadow. The lower photograph is a side view of the construction details.

Rev: 4/15/07