Y H B H S (card catalog) selection 9
Steve Roden, artist, Los Angeles
"I honestly can’t believe that some of these forms have not been discussed as visual and material precedents for the architectural language of Frank Gehry, as well as so much contemporary sculpture. "
T HE FOAM SCULPTURES
Steve Roden writes....“full disclosure: i’ve never been much of a fan of john chamberlain’s crushed car parts; and seeing a massive display of his works in downtown
marfa, showcasing the best of his work in the best of circumstances, still left me flat.
this past march i was an artist in residence at Chinati, and i spent quite a bit of time in the “reception area” - thumbing through various publications, trying not to blow my entire stipend. nevertheless, every time i was confronted with that large judd table covered in books, i consistently found myself eyeing this book on chamberlain’s foam sculptures (and here, i should add that i really love it when i have little interest in someone’s work and discover something about them that kicks my butt).
when i first saw the cover of this book, knowing only chamberlain’s metal sculpture, the image confused the hell out of me; and i assumed it was an incidental foam “maquette” that had been lying around the studio for years, but holy cow was i wrong!
"the catalog - a beautiful hardback - is essentially a catalog raissone’ of an entire body of work that should absolutely be more well known. chamberlain has been making foam pieces since 1966, and has made over a hundred of them. the book documents 85 works extensively - including as much as 5 views of a single object.
these oddly tied pieces of foam are kinky, skronky, violent, cartoon-y, surreal, decaying, delicate, soft, light, erotic, genuinely weird and formally all his own. think ken price, early oldenburg, richard tuttle, caroll dunham, and a bit of hans bellmer, all tied into a pale Y E L LO W knot.
looking at these images i’m wondering why nobody ever mentions this stuff... so hopefully, this book will change that. i honestly can’t believe that some of these forms have not been discussed as visual and material precedents for the architectural language of frank gehry, as well as so much contemporary sculpture.
comparing the foam works with chamberlain’s better known crushed car parts, the foam pieces so much more radical, and similarly, much more complex. on one hand, they have their own material presence: foam tied with string (and sometimes stained); yet at the same time, they transcend their materials, existing as stunningly abstract mutable forms.”
Steve Roden is a visual and sound artist from Los Angeles. His work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, sound installation, and performance. Roden's working process uses various forms of specific notation (words, musical scores, maps, etc.) and translates them through self invented systems into scores; which then influence the process of painting, drawing, sculpture, and sound composition.
Steve Roden: In Between, A 20 year survey is currently on view until January 9, at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. The show was curated by former LACMA curator Howard Fox.
Steve Roden, When words become forms is currently on view until December 19 at the Pomona College Museum of Art in Claremont, and features a large scale sound, sculpture, and film installation along with a new series of paintings inspired by a conversation with painter Frederick Hammersley.
He will have a solo exhibition at Susanne Vielmetter LA projects in March.