Some years ago I remember this cereal box I had. And in the back of it were some little games. One of them was to read a word. But the word just looked like a barcode. Imagine long lines really close together, apparently according to this cereal box those lines spelled out a word. Soon after struggling to read the word and being confused a bit I learned that all I had to do was change my point of view in relation to the elongated lines and then the word would become easy to read. So after I viewed the lines from the bottom at an acute angle they compressed into easily readable letters. I thought that was amazing. So I decided to bring in that idea to my Abstract Reflection string installation. Specifically I wanted to achieve that effect with a red heart. So I went for it tying different lengths of red string to gray string, making my own “barcode” which was to produce a rounded heart shape when viewed from below at a small angle upwards. And it worked!
Everywhere there are spaces that exist, but spaces in general tend to be seen as invisible and different versions of an existing space usually aren’t considered. In Abstract Reflection I provide flat planes through strings to showcase spaces that have existed, but weren’t consciously seen, to some degree. These planes also provided density and even a power of sort to “empty” spaces, which are actually spaces that allow air to flow so we can breathe and be powerful ourselves. Then to further play on the idea of invisibility I used gray strings similar to the colors of the stairwells’ main characteristics, which in turn blended in the space, but showed off at different times, depending on how the lighting was. My gray strings were a gentle soothing intrusion if you will.
Abstract Reflection is a very site-specific piece. It was done in the School of Art at George Mason University. Specifically on and around the main stairwell that connects the 3 stories of the building. And some of my main invented “rules” when I worked on this string installation were that I didn’t want to interrupt the architecture nor flow of student traffic, but I did want to subtly add to their visual experience and provide something simple and smooth to take in. Then I went for it, tying one string at a time from one end to another and then ended up also achieving this idea that the strings were holding up the stairwells if viewed from the third floor.
Abstract Reflection is basically an abstract reflection of myself, hence the name. And the key components are the gray colored strings and red heart. Because one of my main outfits involves gray tones and then I usually would attach at red heart on the lower left flap (which sits right above my pants pocket when not tucked in) of my plain gray button-down shirt. So when I would look at this string installation I would see me in an abstract way. Plus the heart is like my signature (see how my signature looks on my paintings to further understand).
This string installation, Abstract Reflection, is like a music instrument that doesn’t play how you’d imagine. The play is in imagination.
Abstract Reflection plays on how oblivious people can be to what’s right in front of them and on how details and nuances can be too easily overlooked, as if they were camouflaged. And then the interesting part is that when certain details of spaces are noticed one might question if they’ve always been part of the space. And if that happens, that makes this piece timeless.