Those were the words my four year old son Adam said when he looked into the BIG box filled with wood scraps that were conveniently discarded from the construction project my wife and I had contracted on our house last fall. And play we did…..
All of the pieces I created for this exhibit were produced in collaboration with Adam while we shared many constructive hours playing in my basement studio at home. We did much of the work together – cutting, gluing, painting and constructing. We, of course, had our creative differences as well as normal adolescent lapses in attention and/or focus on the task at hand. But, for the most part, these assembled pieces should simply be viewed for how they were developed and not so much for what their content represents or the visual metaphors they allude to.
There was never a concise order to the construction of the pieces. They were all worked on at the same time. Adam and I were like bees buzzing from one flower to the next, adding one little thing here, cutting a piece of wood there, and brushing paint EVERYWHERE. I was responding to the materials we had at hand and made decisions based on the traditional design principles of symmetry, balance and form.
Assemblage is an artistic process in which a three-dimensional artistic composition is made from putting together found objects. Assemblage is the 3-dimensional cousin of collage. In 1961, the exhibition “The Art of Assemblage” was featured at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition showcased the work of artists such as Braque, Joseph Cornell, Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray, and Kurt Schwitters. William C. Seitz, the curator of the exhibition, described assemblages as being made up of performed natural or manufactured materials, objects, or fragments not intended as art materials. These works also give my own professional nod to the influence of Betye Saar and Seymour Fogel, whose work I became familiar with when we staged exhibits of the their work here in the gallery in 2003 and 2006 respectively.
These art objects are more meaningful to me as a dad than they are to me as an artist. They are valuable to me because they represent quality time spent alone with my son with no other outside distractions; no purple dinosaurs, talking cars, of furry red monsters – just me and my son and a box full of wood scraps.