Jordan Tull’s strong abstract sculptures command viewers to become alert to their bodies’ relationship with their immediate environments. His predominantly site-specific and technology-modeled forms are commanding and powerful. Tull uses his forceful visual vocabulary to intelligently explore the fraught dynamic between our fragile, soft bodies and the intensity of manmade structures.
Here we discuss his upcoming installation, “Candy Walls,” and “Untitled, 2012,” a project consisting of an expanded polystyrene, florescent lamps, vinyl, which he presented in the windows of PDX Contemporary Art, in his home of Portland, OR.
Ana Finel Honigman: How does Candy Walls function with its imagined and real space?
Jordan Tull: Candy Walls experiments with parametric design through a system of creative play and creative restraint. The work is “designed” to be fun and intuitive creatively, but in reality it’s formally restrained due to the multilayered manual processes required to execute it. The installation is site-reactive and mixed-media based, combining drawing, painting, large format printing, and 3D fabrication technology. The sculptural components of the installation derive from flat construction patterns that originate from computer-generated models. These polygonal forms are bulbous, undulating geodesic airbrushed foam-core structures that swell, climax, and fragment panoramically within the gallery. Designed at first to resonate within a dimensionally accurate computer rendering of the gallery space, the final execution of the work manifests as an architectural-spacial reconstruction that materially translates vector geometry into an experiential color-form playground. Candy Walls is an exercise in creating experiential soft architecture.
AFH: How does the name relate to the actual work and your intentions for it?
JT: I titled this installation Candy Walls to suggest that the work is eye candy without having conceptual or material depth. Candy Walls is about putting up walls of perception. It’s rich and high-end in terms of design and engineering, but sorta-DIY by using foam-core, hot glue, tape and airbrush paint. I’m just happy seeing it be experienced as a space – not necessarily as an idea. In the end it’s metbaloized, documented and trashed.
AFH: How do the joyous colors in Candy Walls influence viewers’ experience?
JT: I hope that the SF Bay-area audience appreciates my color choices. They were inspired by readily available airbrush paint and my interpretation of a California sunset. Of course, black will likely be the most dominating color in this installation, to offset any possible perception indicating that joy actually drives me.
AFH: That’s very funny. No one would want that. In general, why have you moved your work towards stronger, brighter, more arresting color? How has color influenced your conceptual development?
JT: When I was teenager, I made paintings with an extremely unnatural color palette. As a sculptor, I developed apathy towards color considering it secondary to form. Presently, I’ve come to appreciate using color more just as a way to have fun creating installations. For Candy Walls specifically, I’m trying something new by learning how to airbrush, and I’m painting this installation entirely on-site. Doing this is important to my artistic development because it frees me from the usual restraints that I impose upon my work. I view color as being critical to how we perceive space and I’m dealing with this more as my work parallels interior-architecture and interior-design.
AFH: How does Untitled, 2012 relate to Candy Walls‘ conceptual and structural foundations?
JT: These installations are both reactionary to on-site conditions, but Untitled, 2012 relates to Candy Walls primarily as being computer-driven. I conceived these installations within a computer program using the physical parameters of the gallery space as guidelines. Both installations explore expansion and restraint conceptually, perhaps in different ways, but a constant motif consists of the interlocking, triangulated pattern being used as a structural, figurative gesture. Black 2D elements are used in these works to play with spacial illusion, which also serve to reinforce the distinction between depth versus void.