The undefined nature of material, of matter rather than form, offers a generosity that might accommodate the indeterminacy of the world. In testing material interactions I considered that the degrees of freedom afforded to materials might influence how the viewer could engage with the work. Following on from the freely hanging canvas and kaolin clay interactions of Promissory Things, constraint was introduced in Tensions by the presence of a strong wooden frame. Might a literal framing of the work help towards a closer metaphorical framing of questions regarding the perceptions and understandings of materiality?

In Tensions the push-and-pull force of material interaction could be read in the bending of the frame as the canvas shrank. This significant bow in all four sides of the frame evidenced apparent coevolution in changing states of the assembled matter. 

Tensions (2019) kaolin, canvas, water, glass, wood. 3.5m x 3m x 5cm

Tensions also specifically elaborated on empirical indeterminacy. Water, the material leaving the drying canvas, was uncertainly quantified in associated conical flasks installed next to the drying canvas. Tensions generated nuanced ebbs and flows of material, and successfully highlighted impalpable junctures between chaotic and ordered behaviour.

The work was initially presented as a sculpture lying on the floor. In that form, it offered direct image-related readings strongly associated with painting. This possibly distracted from my intention to question human assumptions about the world. It perhaps gained a degree of the equivocality I sought when later moved to be poised between wall and floor, as seen in these images.

Post-show trial of alternate version of Tensions. kaolin, canvas, water, glass, wood


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