Second Sight – Gary Weisman’s Tabula Rasa
Gary Weisman – Tabula Rasa
Why call the piece Tabula Rasa? I don’t know.
Actually, I would hope that all your/our questions would be answered this directly or at least be laced with some of my/our not knowing. We call an arbitrary point or moment a beginning, and we start the process of making with a surrender to a beginning place of not knowing with the companionship of a blank slate.
So we proceed in steps of shared identities intermittently under the cruel eyes of our cognitive sense of risk, which can frown at our understanding. Sharing identities is like the notes being lost to the sound of a chord, or Barkley’s tree in the forest that is soundless until we are aurally present, or the shared relational identity of split compliments in color. The place of origin for me/us is not really a linear beginning but more like the pebble extending itself in the pond. So within the calipers of our evaluation of value at each grouping of decisions is our return to the source of the originating sensation, which lays within or on a tabula rasa foundation. Periodically asking ourselves, in relation to the originating and evolving sensation, “How am I doing?”
So in reflection, the sculpture is a guardian of my/our attention, to dissuade us from diminishing our decisions with conventional “shoulds.” There appears to be some risk in this approach when perceiving with conventional or intellectual perceptions. I think this risk is physically addressed by the 363 pounds of horizontal bronze being supported by ankles. Hopefully, while the implied loss of weight and gravity is paying homage to Bernini.
I might surmise that pieces you and I make may extend themselves into a shared identity with the willing viewer, and their extending foundation rests on all of our willingness to participate with a blank slate.
I am understanding gender as active. Perhaps the moments of the sphere of tendons gliding between the ulna and radius and dropping into the hand, or the pressure of the heel against a hard object, have a gender quality as part of their identity. So I am seeing that everything or grouping can have an active and changing gender, a duality that shifts and interplays.
I think it’s certainly possible not to have gender as a conventional identifier if we move away from noun/adjectives concepts and stay in a more attentively active role. Everything can then be seen descriptively as the active or passive process of just being.
I am wondering if we give our permission to the concepts of things to “just being active,” then we can bring forth the question, “Is she floating?” Perhaps, but I am seeing the piece as a concept or symbol, a place or line between, an “is,” or maybe even with the identifier “a saturated phenomenon” (Jean-Luc Marion) between this and that. An arabesque line that no longer divides, but becomes an active arena that continues to extend omnidirectionally.
Although I did use a life model as reference for the sculpture, the model is only one aspect of the orchestration of forms in space woven within contrasting arabesques. All this hopefully hints at a higher reaching towards the singularity of beauty. Since beauty does not need a vessel, it’s intriguing to try to offer one through art. I am currently thinking of Polyclitus’ missing Canon, and it’s possible hierarchy of values. How his attention to his geometry and characteristic volumes in space might yield to his cultural and personal concept of beauty. So, I started a life-size “canon” piece without a life model, just to see how my subliminal tendencies, the patterns within sensations, concepts of risk, juxtaposition, and other musical references, would influence the “life of forms” (Henri Focillon) as it surrenders to my “sense of beauty” (George Santayana). I think the sculptures become symbols and tracings of our places of making. So what is being extended, in my case, is an experience tempered through compassion into the physical symbol of sculpture.
Oh my god. Your thought about the base being a visual counter just made me realize that the sculpture bases are too large. Paraphrasing a radio interview, the author said they didn’t really know what the book was about until the reviews came out. The bronze sculpture base is actually hollow, so at about 40 pounds it doesn’t physically offer any counterbalance to the 360 pounds bronze. The thrusting idea behind this series was to experience and offer risk; risk or dissonance within composure. By reducing some of that implied risk with the larger base, I have diminished the need for trust, since trust and risk walk together. My bad. I guess I will have to try harder to resist my natural balancing tendencies.
I joined a group recently that meets at an Ithaca coffee house to discuss the experiential understanding of truth. It’s a lot of fun. The eight or so people that came at first were individuals. Now, they seem to be different thoughts from a shared common self; sort of a variation of a multiple personality. Perhaps this is my projection on to the meeting, since I try to deny individual identity, so much that I stopped signing the sculptures about 15 years ago. Considering the Sufi idea that art and architecture are microcosms of the macrocosm, the making of art is also the introduction to discovery and connections. When I perceive the gluteus medius, the crest of the iliac and the external oblique I think of them as one voice made of different thoughts or personalities. I have stopped carving out individuality and am seeing as a more cooperative whole into another whole into another whole, and so on. “Turtles all the way down.”
There is probably a connection between these thoughts and my shop/studio/foundry. The 40’ x 54’ x 16’ h building opens on 3 of its sides to the 85 acres of hilled hardwoods. What’s remarkable about the crime-free area is that there is no zoning, so my ceramic shell lost wax foundry that pours about 1500 pounds a day is meaningless to the township. Now that I have just installed 145,000 lumens of LEDs which will work great at 10°F, I can have decent light when the snow covers the sixteen, 8’ long skylights. As welcome as the LEDs are in the shop area, I can’t use them for life or sculpture modeling, since their light is too diverse. Hence the warm room, which is wood fired to 80° F for the life model with my personal plastiline formulated for the heat. The modeling room, with an overhead jib crane, has surround lighting, so any directional light is possible. Since the facilities are tailored to me, activities with tools, welders, cranes, etc. are more like breathing than opposing. It’s a well-designed kitchen.