Icarus: History of a First Failed Industry
Lying dormant on the floor bent and twisted is a large paper-based quilt hand printed in rust, stained with oil and fastened together with over 500,000 stainless steel staples. The "quilt" is in fact a portion of a hot air balloon in some form of construction. The underbelly in full sight and its "gores" prepped for assembly or staged after dismantling.
I have been forever influenced with the themes of flight, human need for travelling great distances and the dark tales of Icarus, the Greek tragedy of the son of master craftsman Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth. The notion of flying, especially in a hot air balloon, is one of great beauty but of consequence. It arises in the air aloft with great hight but outside of its basket it contains no mass. Much like Icarus, the hot air balloon of this design, made completely of paper and staples, is doomed for failure but has great hope for a distance away from home.
With every exhibition of this work I perform an installation of a gore, a vertical panel for the proposed balloon to take an occupant away. The stapler is mic'ed up sending the sound to an amplifier and speaker booming the action of metal ripping through paper combining fragile panels of rust inked pulp.
Large quilt-based paper sculpture fabricated from 1000's of squared tiles printed with a handmade ink replacing traditional silkscreen CMYK inks. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks were mixed from iron oxide (rust) pigments and layered via silkscreen process creating a large dot matrix. The overall image printed on the surface is that of a fiery sky at dusk in Danville, Illinois, the day our family sold the house our grandfather and grandmother built.