Pursuit of Color

This is an installation I did in the stairwell in Walker Hall at Washington University in St. Louis.  The material is rolls of construction-grade window insulation, pressed outward in the center to form hollow, flexible cones.  As an artist, I’m fascinated by fields of pure chroma and the collapse of spatial boundaries.  I’m really excited about a lot of James Turrell’s and Anish Kapoor’s work.  I had been experimenting with passing bright light through colored, translucent media for a while when I got the opportunity to do a brief installation in the sunny, red-walled stairwell.  The rolls of insulation were a fun material to work with—they can go from highly malleable to stable and rigid with a minute adjustment in the tightness of the coil, and at the end of the installation I was able to collapse them back down to their original disk form and return them to the hardware store, undamaged, for a complete refund.

The most publicly accessible side of the piece was on the exterior of the building, where the color of the coils matched the reflected color of the sky.  From the inside of the building, they appear as a wall of glowing tunnels curving gently out of sight.  That illusion—the illuminated tunnels into a blue universe—was the original goal of the project; the surprising, organic, alien outward appearance of the installation was a serendipitous side-effect.

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