Ceal Floyer

A new inspiration/favorite artist. Ceal Floyer’s witty & poignant work hits on something I constantly am striving for. Her work is dryly poetic in the way of a John Updike short story, but lingers like a drip on the edge of a spout. (Yeah, I just made that up! Ha!) Anyway, her work is interesting. The most interesting thing to me is the reveal of the work. First you have to figure out what it is, then you “get it”, then there is a moment of transcendence where you realized it’s more profound than you first thought. I like where these pieces sit in my mind. I like the way my mind is encouraged to wander and connect.

Ceal Floyer at Lisson Gallery
An article from Frieze

Ceal Floyer-Solo

Ceal Floyer-Wish you were here

Gestural Objects

(Artist Statement in progress…as always)

“Large things tend to be unwieldy, clumsy, crude;
smallness is the realm of elegance and grace.” -Steven Millhauser

Smallness lends itself to being sweet and modest. It is not clouded by grandeur or overarching themes. It is simply what it is, but by being so poignant it is able to transcend itself.

My work explores the meaning of small gestures. What does it mean to part window blinds or for a railing to point upward? Many of these gestures exist in the peripheral and unconscious part of our lives, therefore our understanding of them is base level, inside you (imagine a hand to chest tap), resistant to language.

I use cyclical motion as a vehicle to a meditative state. The simple gesture of pull strings moving slowly up and down a white gallery wall repeatedly suggest “…on…off…on…off…on…off…” in a chant like manner to the point where the viewer stops thinking about the string and motion but something beyond that tapping into memory and experience. The relatability of the objects I use helps build connections to the work. I have often been struck by the way authors connect with the reader by inserting a very relatable description of an object or gesture. They are both allusive and familiar at the same time drawing the reader more personally into the story line.* No longer are you just following the authors train of thought, you are now running parallel with your own experience.

There are things that are impossible to hold onto. They slip through your fingers, flash before your eyes or hover in the spaces between. It is because you can’t hold them that they are beautiful. Weaving in and out of clarity. Existent, but difficult to get a clear handle on. Fog does this, memory does this, veils do this. It’s more beautiful to leave room for the mind to guess and imagine than to be completely clear.

*References of allusive and familiar gestures in literature that have stuck with me
1. “A biscuit, crushed into the slush of a Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot.” J. Robert Lennon “Accursed Items”
2. The color yellow in the Great Gatsby
3. Tan lines in John Updike’s “A&P”
4. Grandmother rolling her eyes in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”

automatism

I had a great converstation in my studio yesterday with our Critic in Residence, Lane Relyea. He was really good at deducing and understanding my work as a whole (not sculpture vs. drawing vs. photography). He pointed out surrealist tendencies that I have. Almost everything is based on real experience, but it is shifted in a way that you experience it like a memory or a “dream” for a second. I read some recommended articles by Rosalind Krauss following meeting including one about surrealist photography where she connects repetition and psychoanalysis. I was also able to see my process in a clearer way as we talked about discovery and how I enjoy the disconnection between analytical thinking and making. In the magazine photo’s it is the reveal of a singular object not often viewed as one transformed by the camera, in the drawings it is the workings of the hand–a revelation of the natural tendencies, and in the sculptures it’s the motion that I create, but then let run (spin, ungulate or deflate…etc.) I like to surprise myself in the making process kind of like making a drawing by candlelight and then flipping on the lights and having your own work revealed to you or doing a blind contour. This may account for my frustration with mechanical construction. It is so precise and needs the proper pieces to work that I lose part of this immediacy and I am forced to be analytical. I’m not saying it’s not good for me to go through this, it just helps me understand my frustration.

I have a lot to think about. That’s good!