Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Critique of "Splinters" by Ellie Garza

Ellie Garza’s piece Splinters is a tall (approximately 6,2 feet), thin sculpture made of toothpicks that are connected to each other in different patterns. The whole object sits on top of a stool, and is connected all the way to the ceiling through an almost invisible plastic wire. Attached to this wire are many toothpicks that are glued to each other (with clear hot glue) and give form to the structure. If seen from the right angle, the wire becomes unnoticeable and the toothpicks appear to be holding the structure by themselves. The size of the structure generates an illusion of apparent weight, as it seems that even though the structure is big, its weight is extremely low (making the whole structure very fragile).

While both the base and top of the object have an immeasurable number of toothpicks forming two very condensed areas, the middle part of the structure consists of a much smaller number of toothpicks that appear to be strategically glued in order to hold the entire sculpture together, providing the viewer with a sense of unity. In general, this sculpture can be considered a discrete object (constructed of multiple parts but read in a single form) that portrays a dynamic relationship between its parts. Especially, the smaller number of toothpicks used in the central part of the sculpture gives the viewer a sense of fragility. In my case, this fine connecting line made me want to stay away from the structure, as it seemed that even a very slight movement could break it apart. It is important to mention that the viewer can walk around the structure, allowing the reader to analyze the structure from different angles. This suggests that all sides of the sculpture were crafted with the same dedication.

The concept Ellie chose was transgression, which generally refers to a breach of a law. In this case, with Splinters, I think she was trying to show the viewer that even though splinters are commonly viewed as dangerous and harmful, as well as broken part of a main body, they can also be used to generate an opposing concept. In other words, she was trying to show that splinters, if arranged properly, could form a beautiful, harmless, and very well connected piece.

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