The Clever Sidestep

The Clever Sidestep: Installation/performance consisting of paint, plywood, and camping tent, 80 x 90 x 54", 2015

In 2015 I was contacted by the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL to do an installation project. Built by John and Mable Ringling, founders of the world famous circus empire, the Ringling complex is an elaborate campus inspired by Gothic-style Italian palazzi, with an epically-scaled mansion, multiple museums, and lavishly embellished sculpture gardens and courtyards.

This says something very grand about the idea of a home, proprietorship, and belonging somewhere. And yet, ironically, they built their fortune off of being essentially homeless, traveling from town to town and gig to gig. They also asked their employees to follow a similar lifestyle.

In the spirit of all the circus travelers living out of pop-up tents while on the road, I wanted to make a nomadic painting that could house my installation as it sits amidst the lavish palazzo setting. Using a camping tent as a base structure, I poured and splattered more than 20 gallons of paint to create a abstract expressionist painter’s “cave”. Inside the painting/tent/cave are plywood shapes, also fallen victim to my paint-pouring rampage. Each shape corresponds to a letter from my name, thus functioning as both abstract installation components and literal artist’s signature.

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