The current body of work continues an investigation into using a common building material, gypsum wallboard, as a vehicle to create dynamic volumes that define a new architectural topography. This architectural language creates a direct contradiction to the viewer’s perception of walls forming architecture; angular versus orthographic, tilting versus vertical, and suspension versus compression.

By creating a dynamic interplay of sharp and obtuse angles, the viewer is presented with a sense of energy to their surroundings. The lighting of these pieces accentuates the intensity of the shapes by having the shadows be just as important as the panels. The minimalism of the shapes helps the viewer to understand the entirety of each piece, yet they will typically question the structural integrity of the materials used. The answers are not apparent with the hidden framework and edge mounting mechanisms used when installing the work. Awareness of space, attention to detail, curiosity, imperfection, and contemplation are just some of my goals for viewers to attain.

Multiple pieces of my work in a gallery space become integral parts of the overall room impression by painting them to match the gallery wall color. The edges of the wallboard material are left unfinished to present the individuality, honesty, and tactility of the underlying gypsum material when viewers get closer to each piece. These exposed raw edges highlight the physical gestures created when the material was scored and broken during the construction process. The scale of each piece is determined for a comfort level that sizes them in relation to oneself. I don’t want them to be too big and overpowering, nor do I want them to be too small and precious.

Conceiving the work comes through a mixture of experiencing architectural spaces, journal writings, studying architectural reference books, personal photography, and the dynamics of creating the piece. I have also created several site specific pieces that developed from the experience of a space over a period of time. Sunlight, sightlines, perception of volumes, and the architectural materials form an impression to construct the new topography. My Artisphere, Artomatic, and Katzen sculpture Center works were from this site specific process.

Fabricating each finished piece starts with a complex set of process sketches, architectural scale models, and computer generated 3D modeling files. These preliminary tasks lead up to the assembly and painting of the finished drywall and wood constructions.

The photography represents a body of work that forms a vocabulary which exposes and describes dynamic formations hidden within the blur of the urban landscape. By isolating details from their vernacular, I have sought to evoke the same simplicity found in my travels through the desert landscapes and solemn rock formations of the Southwest.

Tranquility, focus and solitude are brought forward by suppressing the visual noise of the surrounding environment, whether it be a commercial office building, an abandoned Mid-Century gas station on a busy thoroughfare, or a Modernist renovation of a row house on Capitol Hill. The exclusion of the human form is used to remove relationships of scale or surroundings, transforming images into a focused expression of shape, color, texture and volume.

The planning process for photo sessions is similar to the progression I have used to create a set of architectural blueprints; plan, elevation, and detail drawings convey an entire project, beginning with the basic idea of the building and developing progressively to more specific layers down to the most precise descriptions of detail. Similarly, in developing the photo sessions, screen captures of mapping web sites are analogous to the plan views, the elevations develop from photographing the facades or interior spaces, and the details are expressed through close-up cropping, becoming the most personal and abstract of all the other elements.


© Copyright 2014 Greg Braun, All Rights Reserved