Ignorantly Wondering Around in Sol Lewitt's House (Week 1)

A couple days after Christmas my two way mirror plexiglass arrived from Plaskolite.  They donated two full sheets to me to prove my concept.  Thanks Molly for the help pushing that forward.  Since then a ton of work has gone towards completing my goal of having a cube air borne by critique on Wednesday the 25th.  Along with that progression I spent a lot of time photographing and videotaping the work I completed last semester for inclusion in an application to Skowhegan artist residency.  I still have a few more of those application to complete.  Photographing the group of leaning cubes allowed me to play with their possibilities as an installation piece.  They remind me a lot of Legos.  I stumbled ignorantly into Sol LeWitt’s universe.  I'll be posting a professional album soon.

The other work that I documented was the square wheel.  I completed this in video form.

Wheel (Phase 1) from Zane A. Miller on Vimeo.

Wheel (Phase 2) from Zane A. Miller on Vimeo.

Both of these explorations through documentation allowed me to think more clearly about the relationship that each of these works have to one another.  I’ll discuss this more after critique when I can’t place any ideas in people's heads.  It also allowed me to think about showing more than just the cube for my thesis.  Before I go forward in pursuing the 8 foot version I will be thinking long and hard about the value of my exploration as a hole.  I mean to say that I really like the potential of the leaning cubes to overwhelm a space along with the 4 foot cube and a wheel.

The progress towards the 4 foot cube has been a test of focus and design.  I have never done “finish” work with steel.  I had to be precise and to be honest I won’t know if I did it all right until I attempt to hang plexiglass monday morning.  Everything is prepared and ready for installation except for the plexiglass sides.  I have to drill holes in exactly the same place on each sheet.  Below is a visual narrative of how it has all gone down.

Cable swaging.

Below is the image sent to facilities in my proposal.




Below is a stress test video created to display the strength of the hanger when glued to plexiglass.  This demo failed at 40 pounds.  Four feet of plexi weighs way less then that and I am using four pegs.  Thanks for the video Bruce.

The wood frame is being used to find the correct length of cable required to hang the cube.  It is much ligther then the steel frame that comes in at just over 40 pounds.  I'm looking into aluminum.


These Cubes Keep Leaning (Week 12)

Rob Robbins told me to work with wood for a while.  It’s faster and way cheaper.  All I need is a miter saw and a hot glue gun.  I was also told that perspective needed to be accounted for a bit more accurately.  This is a thought that has run through my mind with the steel constructions and a few solutions have come to mind.  I’ll discuss those later on in this post but, first I here are some photos of the first wooden leaning cube and its production.  

This was really quick to make.  When constructed identically to the steel versions all I have to worry about is the angles of the cuts.  It was way faster than grinding all the angles of the steel pieces to 45 degrees.  My next experiment took far longer than 30 minutes.  Around 5 hours for my first attempt.  I imagine the next attempt taking far less time.  For this next test I had to adapt everything to correct perspective as all the angles need to be accounted for if this was going to work optically.  Many notes taken from Roxy Paine: Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor involving a lot of forced perspective.  His show in Beeler Gallery is really special and sits in my mind, close to the top.  It is up until March 10th, 2017 and is one of the most incredible experiences in person. Go see it!

This was a challenge in the way that it is a challenge to cut crown molding correctly.  Escher is coming to mind more and more.

Once I figured out how to make one plane of the cube, I made a few corrections to my method and did it two more times.

The next step was the vertical pieces which became another problem.  My first attempts did not fit the form correctly as these pieces are not exactly square in the cross section when they lean away from the viewer at 45 degrees.  They had to have a cross section that was a diamond shape.  Once I figured out how to do this, the corrections to the vertical pieces made for a rather successful optical illusion that was way better than any of the predecessors.

Thanks Tyler Davis (instagram: (black) tyler davis b__td) for the above photo.  I’m going to need to acquire a miter saw so I can cut lengths of wood in Battelle and then cut and assemble cubes in my studio in AMF.

I also had the chance to talk with Tim Rietenbach about my work from the semester thus far and he pointed out a few artist who are currently having shows in New York.  Carol Bove was one of these artist.  She is having a show at David Zwirner called Polka Dots.  Tim challenged my intentions with the work through her example, asking whether I wanted the hand to be present in the work and in my eventual thesis creation.  Many of the images from this show preview were impactful when I pondered this question and it brought up others.

The absence of the hand allows these objects to feel held together by some sort of force like magnetism.  They exist entirely separate from the artist because of their construction and the removal of the hand.  The other major observation I made was the illusion created via the object relationships and the space in which they exist.  Scale is easily distorted and shifted when objects are viewed through the grid from different points in the gallery.  This effect is also accentuated by the use of grey which, the walls and floor are painted.  The minimal evidence of a shadow cast from the grid allows it to float up from the ground and lose dimensionality.  If I light a cube correctly I may not even need to suspend it.  

This show is only up until December 17th but I kinda want to make a trip to New York to see it.

Another part of the discussion with Tim challenged my attempts to blur 2D and 3D space with the use of these cubes and grids.  His suggestion is to create a cube with very thin material and see how that effects and fits in with my goals.  I’ll give this a whirl soon with some ⅛ inch diameter steel.


Trump trompe-l'œil has me down. (Week 11)


Too much optimism can be a dangerous thing in politics, especially for democrats.  For the next four years we get to call a man with zero political experience the 45th president of these United States.  I’m not proud of our voting population and far less of the people who chose not to participate.  After Sanders was plucked from the primaries by the DNC with the aid of major media corporations, this election became less about revolutionary change against the establishment and more about keeping things the way President Obama constructed over the last 8 years.  For this reason my vote went to Hillary Clinton.  

Fun fact, as of Tuesday, November 16, Clinton is leading Trump in the popular vote by 1,125,855 votes. He reportedly has 61,283,176 votes, while she has 62,409,031.  This difference in votes is expected to continue rising.

I’ve never seen so many tears after election day.  My feelings surrounding the results have made it hard to make strides toward my intended thesis in April.  Eventually I will get it together but until then I have been doing other projects.  Last Saturday there was a wet plate collodion workshop.  Way cool to work with ether, silver nitrate, and potassium cyanide, to complete a process invented in 1851.

I have spent most of my free time working with the results of the bronze pour two Mondays back.  I poured into a mold of an actual jade plant.  Don't worry the plant is still alive, just not the part I put into the oven.  More photos and details from that event soon.

I think it is coming along nicely.  Ismael made a mask for Katy B Funk.

Our president elect is false says the undergrads.  I have to agree.

On a brighter note, 25 people came to Critique Group for an incredible conversation with Katy Daiber about her work.  As a sophomore, this girl is making work that competes with graduate level work.  She will go far.

Visiting artists Sarah and Max made 101 pots on the throwing wheel just because they wanted to teach themselves how to do it.  They had a show about it and gave all the pots to people they have interacted with at CCAD this semester.  More photos from that event soon.

Then I created a response to Call and Response with the help of Katie B Funk.  I tied a string to each piece of art as it related to one another, creating 6 loops and involving 400+ meters of yarn.  It was incredible when we finished and only lived for about 16 hours before we took it down.  Again, more photos later that aren’t cell phone shots.  While the pieces only had two strings connecting them to other works, the shadows created in the space implied to the connections between the works as a whole.  

And finally here are some photos of recent leaning cube experiments.

I’ll write more when I feel like it.  Trump trompe-l'œil has me down.


Panoramic Squares and Spaces (Week 10)


Processes, Methods, And Theories For Cubes (Week 9)

I’ve always been a big fan of being silent for the early part of my critiques.  Cold reads are really the only way to find out if the language of the artwork is resonating with the viewers as I intend.  You find out really quick if what you are doing is working or not.  Then after fifteen minutes or so I will start to answer questions, some of which are brought up during my time of silence.  From here, the critique is generally an open conversation between me and the group.

This week’s critique will be an interesting one.  Usually I have the time to plan out a finished installation or concept but I have been given three days notice.  Honestly, I am not sure what I am going to set up and I am a bit afraid that it may be a bit flat.  I will be trying to have my mock up for thesis pretty well finished as well as a presentation of a new grid.  If I can find the time I will have a surprise to present as well.  Oh and I will have a statement completed that will find its way into conversation.

There have been a lot of things happening the past week, mostly writing and planning.  I spent the early part of the week writing a paper for Gallery and Curatorial Practices.  I highly recommend going to the Columbus Museum of Art to see the new photography show called “The Sun Placed in the Abyss”.  The show focuses on themes surrounding photography and cinema where the sun is the subject of the work.  The show explores technological, historical, cliche, scientific, and experimental themes.

The next major project was creating  and presenting a lecture as part of a panel that Molly put together for the Mid America College Art Association in Cincinnati.  The panel was titled “MFA in Visual Arts: New Project, Working and Teaching in a Multidisciplinary Project Based Program”.  It was a really great experience giving a lecture in front of complete strangers.  Luckily my girlfriend videotaped my section, so I will get the chance to watch myself and critique my behavior.  I’ll give more of these lectures in the future for sure.

On top of that I spent some time completing my response to Paul’s piece in The Call and Response show.  I created another cube illusion but painted it with a Piet Mondrian themed color pallet.  I would have never colored a cube this way if it weren’t for the show and I would have thus never discovered how interesting it is to walk around in this state.  Maybe I will have a chance to do this later on this semester but, I had intended on building 50+ of these sort of leaning cube for my next critique.  I have already ordered the steel for them.  I can almost guarantee that my critique will be about planning my ambitious thesis goals.

The final excitement of the week was the preparation made for the bronze pour next tuesday.  The oven will be loaded tomorrow evening.  I am attempting to bronze a jade plant.  If this experiment works, I will be thoroughly impressed with the potential of bronze.  What started out as a personal endeavour turned into an eight hour commitment.  I left Battelle at 12:30 after helping a few of the undergraduates complete their molds.  The plaster room is a wreck but, rightly so.