August 14, 2020
All images © Spenser Little, shared with permission
Known for his figurative wire pieces attached to light posts and other public fixtures around the world, Spenser Little’s recent artworks venture into the personal. Illumination Devices is comprised of the artist’s bent portraits and totems of merging faces, in addition to a series of irradiated kinetic sculptures. Evoking the nesting doll, these abstract figures contain spacious chest cavities that open up to reveal similar, smaller forms hidden inside.
For each lamp, Little carves a wooden structure of the main character’s head, welds a metal body, and overlays the components with thin paper “skin,” repeating the process for subsequent pieces. He also seats wooden figures in the deepest caverns. The relationship between the inner and outer sculptures explores the tension between the conscious and subconscious, which the artist explains:
I heard the analogy long ago the we, our active, controlled conscious, are merely riders on a large beast. We think our conscious minds are controlling the subconscious beast, but in reality, the beast goes where it wants revealing our unpolished motives. The outer self wants to project control and precision. The inner self is just trying to keep things working. The lamps are shells around motors.
By physically brightening the artworks, Little uncovers the link between the two sometimes disparate selves. “Art to me is the wordless conversation between us and our inner beast. To communicate with our unenlightened animal impulses is very illuminating to our true selves,” he shares with Colossal.
Little’s nestled sculptures are on view through September 20 at MOAH: CEDAR in California. Take a virtual tour of the show, and check out exactly how the articulate artworks function on the artist’s Instagram. (via Supersonic)
“Large Orange Lamp” (2020), steel, paper, glue, red heartwood, gears, electric motors, sprockets, bicycle chain link, 40 × 80 × 40 inches
“Inner Defense Mechanism Lamp” (2020), steel, paper, glue, red heart & figurative maple wood, gears, electric motor, carbon-chain link, 30 × 30 × 26 inches
“Identity Roulette, Red Lamp” (2020), steel, paper, glue, purple and red heartwood, electric motor, gears, carbon-chain link, 13 × 28 × 13 inches
“Yellow Glass Urn” (2020), steel, glass, 15 × 13 inches
Left: “Mini Totem Cluster” (2020), one continuous 22 gauge steel wire, 26 × 8 inches. Right: “Birth and Death Deity” (2020), one continuous16 gauge steel wire, 61 × 33
“Copper Multi-Face Design” (2020), one continuous 12 gauge copper wire, 36 × 33 inches
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