Wednesday, February 10, 2010

David Stelle Named Artist of Distinction in Geometric Abstraction Exhibition

David Stelle's three-dimensional compositions earned him the title Artist of Distinction in Still Point Art Gallery's Geometric Abstraction exhibition. His two submissions, Tetrahedron and Existence of Life, are amazing creations...stunning, captivating, and engaging.  Those among us who really have a mind and heart for geometry and geometric shape could spend a lot of time with these pieces appreciating the beauty of the mathematical precision of each composition. But we all can appreciate that the precision that we see is not the purpose...it is not the conclusion...it is not the final answer. The perfectly measured geometric shapes and the precise way of assembling or gathering these shapes leads the mind to experience orderliness and systematization. Here in this state the mind is free...yes, free to explore space, dimension, time, color, beauty. Stelle's pieces are made without boundaries...made to float in space. In Stelle's work, what we see...geometric shape and exacting precision...is a vehicle to what we can explore in our mind.

        Tetrahedron, Existence of Life

In Stelle's words...
I see art as a manifestation of insights. If you get something, feel it, explore it and make it so.

For me it began as the ability to patiently draw, in pencil...to depict light and shadow.  It continued into mathematics as I applied this to shapes that we learned in calculus while earning my degree in mathematics. As we learned them, I drew them and showed them to the rest of the class so they could visualize.

Formulae were fascinating to me. Ellipsoid, hyperbolic paraboloid, and the torus are some of my favorite forms. But just as powerful were concepts of velocity, the series, asymptotes and things parallel where entities can be so close yet never meet. Then I realized. Why not physically create these shapes? Why not toy with creating my own formulae and make shapes that I like to imagine? What do you get if you rotate a line in space with a wobble and a french curve thrown in? I wasn’t sure but I wanted to see it and thereby invent.

But beyond formulae, precision and numbers (although these are absolutely necessary for creating my work) is the importance of experience. As a kid growing up in New England, newness and interaction with my environment, both natural and artificial, filled my world. It was about taking and giving that calm powerful ride that pushed me to create art as a vehicle for others. It also resulted in a Masters in Landscape Architecture where my favorite design setting was the spiritual yet playful garden and where the path became a powerful concept unto itself.

As an artist, I felt the most attraction toward the pure, powerful expressions of minimal geometry and interactivity. Like an early Frank Stella come to 3D, but in motion and floating, I played with folding sheets of plywood and walked among parallel hanging newsprint. I suspended long series of little squares. And I depicted moments of a bird’s flight. With my personal discovery of fluorescent plastic developed during a 7-year stint in New Mexico, you see my current manifestation.

You cannot even achieve half the experience of my work from photographs. Panels are precisely suspended in space with a mirror above from which they hang freely. What you see is a glow that appears naturally from surrounding light due to the nature of the material. What you experience is motion and dimensionality that is ever present and rhythmic. Some flutter like a leaf, some sway like a pendulum, yet all are inescapably aligned in a kind of magical dance. For each change in viewing angle, whether at eye-level or from anywhere below, there is huge payoff in newness and wonder as vertexes, curves and lines meet, cross and part ways. And if you enjoy the feeling of containment and comfort as I do, examine the work with a calm focus to discover a poignant perception of inner space. 

Tetrahedron (17 x 30 x 14), acrylic, $2450
Existence of Life (14 x 34 x 18), acrylic, $2750

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
February 10, 2010

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