|Artwork created during residency|
|Artwork created prior to residency|
Residency: August-September 2016
My residence at Sculpture Space was primarily used for research and development for two upcoming projects/pieces.
One of these projects is a large installation for an upcoming exhibition at The Dowd Gallery at SUNY Cortland. The final form of the piece will be a large cast plaster Austrian curtain spanning 45’ in front of a bank of windows in the main gallery space. Coming into this residency knowing that I wanted to execute this sculpture for this exhibition I thought that the space and time provided would be an ideal place to experiment with new mold materials, casting techniques, and mold structure. The complex form of an Austrian curtain proved to be quite difficult not only in developing the right type of mold but also in casting. Through much experimentation and testing I was able to find a coated fabric that was perfect not only in that it released from the plaster but also in its ability mimic the complicated curves of the curtain. Once finding this ideal material I used my time to test multiple casting, developing the correct mold format, formal spacing, and casting strategies. Eventually landing on a layout, spacing, and sewing technique that worked well I tested a full scale section making sure it would actually stand at the height that I am planning to execute it in the gallery. This full-scale section of the cast also gave me an opportunity to develop and build a destruction device that will also be used in a performance to take place at the closing of the exhibition.
The other project, quite a bit larger in scale and complexity, is an outdoor performative sculpture set to open next July in conjunction with the Ceramic Museum at Alfred University. A helicopter becomes a tool in activating a sculpture by using the wind produced from the spinning blades to send air into a large inflatable sculpture below. I conceived this piece almost four years ago and have been developing and proposing it ever since. Finally securing a venue for the piece has shifted the development of the work from a series of sketches and loose ideas to having to solidify a concrete plan, budget, schedule, and execution timeline. Being so busy prior to this residency I have had little time to take this project to the next level of development needed to start additional fundraising and manufacturing. This time proved to be very fruitful in moving this project forward. Not only was I able to construct working models but also able to contact multiple manufactures to get a much more accurate budget assembled and timeline of production. This project, being multi faceted and massive in scale, is a very different type of construction then I typically execute so every step forward, no matter how small or big, is critical for its execution. Having the time to establish a dialoged with manufactures and engineers has been monumental in this works development.
About the Artist:
Ian McMahon received his MFA in Sculpture and Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University and his BFA in Ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University. From 2009 to 2013 he was a recipient of a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, in 2015 he was awarded a NYFA Artist Fellowship, and in 2016 he was a first place recipient of the Virginia Groot Foundation Fellowship. McMahon’s work has been shown both nationally and internationally at venues including: Crane Arts (Philadelphia,), Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute (Jingdezhen, China), The Pacific North West College of Art (Portland), Pierogi Boiler Room (New York), G-Fine Arts (Washington), Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts (Omaha), Suyama Space (Seattle), and T & H Gallery (Boston) among others. From mobile tractor-trailer to abandoned warehouse to galleries, McMahon’s work confronts and transforms both unconventional and conventional spaces. His sculptures challenge the permanence of art and the permanence of place through performative and materially focused temporal constructions. Currently living in Hornell, NY he is the co-founder and co-director of the Belfry, an artist run exhibition venue.