Sunlight and Shadows
This blog entry is part of a series of conversations between Kendall blogger, Pamela Patton, and several ArtPrize 2012 artists who will be exhibiting in Kendall’s galleries.
Have you ever watched the clouds roll by, and been intrigued by the interplay of sunlight and shadow? Or sat by a turbulent river and watched the foam on the water continually change its shape, forming and dissolving? I’ve done it. Artist Jamey Grimes does it, too. The difference is Grimes, a Kendall 2012 ArtPrize exhibitor, has figured out a way to capture the randomness of nature in his sculptures.
“My pieces are all inspired by nature and pretty abstract. I pull from marine biology and images of the ocean. I snorkel, and I love the way the light filters through the water and the patterns in the intricacy of underwater coral. The things that I’m trying to capture are those abstract moments such as a thunderhead in the distance, or the patterns created by sunlight filtering through towering tree canopies. I explore these things as tangible objects.”
Grimes first started interpreting nature in his paintings, layering paint to create physical dimension. Gradually, he added Mylar to his works, using it as a means to create depth. But it wasn’t enough. So Grimes began working with a new material: corrugated plastic.
“Everyone knows what it is. It’s the stuff that political yard signs are printed on. It’s the material used to construct those milky-colored totes that the post office uses. It’s familiar to the audience.”
But when Grimes is finished with the synthetic material it’s no longer recognized as plastic. He cuts, melts, twists and shapes, transforming the plastic into something more natural and more ethereal, such as whitecaps dancing on the water, or dark shadows skipping across the forest floor. Most of his ceiling-suspended works are 20 to 30 feet long, but Grimes also crafts pieces easily held in the hand.
Children are drawn to Grimes’ work, although some of the pieces, particularly ones created in black plastic, can seem menacing. “Adults seem nervous that kids are going to be intimidated by the work, just as we are often intimidated by nature itself. We personify nature, we talk about ‘angry storms,’ when in reality it’s nothing more than hot and cold air interacting. That’s our emotional reaction to a natural process.”
Grimes’ ArtPrize piece, “Roil” has been installed in other galleries. “Each time I install it, it’s completely different. It adapts to the space.” Approximately 30 feet long, “Roil” will be suspended from the ceiling of the galleries in the Historic Federal Building.
Grimes didn’t tell me what “Roil” is meant to bring to mind. “Imagination plays a powerful role in my work, making each person’s observation unique. I hope the audience explores the relationship between their memories the emotion my work evokes.” Let the imagining begin.
~ Pamela Patton