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Staircase by Rachel Whiteread
Staircase by Rachel Whiteread

Imagine yourself in cherry red Jello, walking through enclosed spaces, whether your  house, library, place  of work, building or train station, exiting, looking back and just seeing the Jello shape without its architectural covering… that’s Rachel Whiteread.

The illustration is a work by Rachel Whiteread. She applied plaster / cement to the inside of  ceiling, walls & staircase . Then the structure that the staircase was built in was removed… thus exposing the shape of the air that once occupied the space… At Mana Contemporary we are always considering the space allocation for a variety of works, be they paintings, sculpture or works created in a multi-media format. Space is a valuable commodity and is measured by the cubic foot.

A method of creating cast Aluminum Sculpture can be made by cutting up styrofoam, re-assembling it and ramming foundry sand around the styrofoam.  1200 degree molten aluminum is then poured into the sand mold thus replacing the styrofoam.  The sand is then removed, exposing our cast aluminum sculpture.

In California, in the middle sixties & seventies I was responsible for developing a Sculpture Department. In my classes I asked the  students to bring in styrofoam packaging forms that were discarded. One of the students brought in several styrofoam shapes that once contained singer sewing machines. Intrigued by the interior shape that once was carved to receive these machines, I joined the  container and poured casting plaster into the vacant space. After it was fully set, acetone was poured over the styrofoam, thus dissolving it, exposing the interior space that was once empty… a solid object or as I coined it “Frozen Space”.

We really don’t question the interior configuration of an empty bottle, car or cardboard box. In the sixties, Bruce Nauman cast the underside of a chair. In AD 79 a volcano in Visuvius, Italy covered the entire city. Most living creatures were covered with ashes and lava, leaving the captured figures cast forever ” frozen in space” so to speak.

Have you ever made a sand cast, pouring wet plaster into a sand carving at the beach or river ? It’s a lot of fun and can be the first steps towards creating a work of art with your own unique signature … To be continued. GT ’11