Ceilings Walls Windows Doors
The work shown in the video above is an arrangement of images that were screen-printed onto glass using fluorescent enamel ink—cyan, magenta, and yellow. The images themselves are of ceilings and walls in my old apartment, and the glass panels on which they are printed are salvaged window panes from that same place. They are suspended with stainless steel cable from a faux ceiling made of white acrylic, which, in turn, is suspended from the ceiling. The panels are illuminated with black light pendants, causing them to glow. I have arranged them in a way that feels like my memories.
I lived in the apartment from 2009 to 2017. Shortly after my thirtieth birthday, I was struck with a sudden motivation to confront that debilitating habit of making too many damned excuses. I started, simply, by taking digital images of the ceilings and walls using my phone. Not long after, I decided to draw them. With charcoal and paper, I employed a restrained scribbling technique to create densely-textured copies of each image. The process was tedious, but, also, meditative. I made one for each year of my life, and continue to do so. While each composition appears to be something like architectural abstraction, in fact, the work is decontextualized realism. Arranged together, the effect is fragmentation, disorientation, and claustrophobia.
Sometime in 2015, towards the beginning of my venture into the charcoal work, I noticed a man had been hired to replace the windows of the apartment complex. I began collecting the discarded panes. Eventually, I repurposed several of them to display and protect my drawings. The rest, I stacked in my spare bedroom. Later, as I approached the completion of my thirtieth drawing, I became, somehow, fascinated with a massive, obsolete device known as a process camera—the worlds first photocopier. Within a couple of months, I constructed a four-foot-long, working replica, along with a make-shift darkroom, then began developing large, halftone, film negatives of each charcoal drawing.
In the fall of 2017, my wife and I moved into our first house. I carried the memory of our apartment with me, as well as the two-ton pile of windows. In a place of gratitude for this new season of life, as well as grief for the passing of another, I began transferring each halftone image onto silkscreen, then printing them on the surface of our old windows. Hope is both beautiful and fragile. With this in mind, I arranged my colorful shards as a chandelier; and, despite the fact that fluorescent ink is prone to fade in ultraviolet light, I chose to illuminate the work with black-light bulbs, causing the fragmented spectacle to glow all the more vividly…at least for a time. Memories fade too.
Video (above): CMYK Chandelier - 2018 - fluorescent enamel screen prints on salvaged window pane, acrylic paneling, stainless steel cable, aluminum and steel fasteners - 84 x 84 x 60 inches - video and music by Jesse Hale - additional lighting by Jonathan Kingsbury