Handyman brings home what he can’t put down and art happens
Jefferson Colman is an Ithaca based mixed media sculptor who takes seeming thrown away items and joins them into something new.
He works by feel. These everyday items find their way into his hands through demolition and contracting jobs he takes on. While renovating he pulls all sorts of antiquated and failed mechanics from homes.
For example, while holding a circuit breaker that’s split in two like two lobes of a strange fruit, he looks down into his hands at the broken part and says, “I’m going to do something with it.” With what looks like bookmatched sinus cavities with electrical components splayed bare he says he finds aesthetic value in such things. “I’ll keep it around until I find some place it fits,” he says, putting it back on his workbench.
What’s mundane to some is germane to others. With a craftsman’s skill his art is helping us see the value that remains in such things.
Typewriter armatures were once part of the mechanics of preserving thought and meaning with the recorded word. Stories of how things were are pounded out on the page. Our artist does a similar job through objecthood where the placement of well used and well worn utilitarian objects, worn thin or perhaps rusted shut, are opened up again to be preserved and given reverence.
Like words on a page placed and presented accurately to achieve meaning, Colman’s work preserves the reverance of objects. Instead of being put away and discarded they are reused and their useful past remains, reconfigured and made again.
Other examples of his transmogrify are the fashioning of shards of rusty sheet metal into a toothy water born creature. Or creating concrete forms from packaging material that has an Aztec geometry, displaying an array growing in complexity and calling it “Evolution.”
Any e-waste recycler worth one’s solder will already know that hard drive data ribbons are stamped with MASTER and SLAVE designations. What Colman has done is take this readymade object and create a commentary out of it by pulling the part from its assignment, popping it in a frame and calling it good.
Jefferson is a contractor who specializes in home improvement. Now he has taken his skill to the next level and creates art to hang on walls and sit on shelves to improve your home. Due to winter conditions Colman is taking a break from studio visits until spring of 2020.