Michael Taylor

Implications of Scientific Theory

Against the backdrop of astonishing discoveries in physics that will forever change the way human beings conceive of themselves and the universe they occupy. It is not surprising that contemporary artists have experimented with notions of both intimate and infinite space. Indeed, among the defining features of human progress over time has been the ceaseless modification in mankind’s understanding of its position in the totality of reason: how it figures in the figuring of the universe.

Kelly Grovier, Art Since 1989, Published 2016

Past Plateaus that informed new work

Interests in science and science fiction have been an over riding issue for my work for some time. This became most obvious when I was essentially alone in a small factory village of Johansfors in Smoland County, Sweden, having received a Fulbright and American Scandinavian grant. I made a series of works from components I blew from molten glass using a special floor burner, which mixed carbon into the glass on the surface creating a smoky marbleized effect. I utilized every shop in the factory to make the work including: blowing, cutting, beveling, faceting and polishing segments, construction, and chemically fusing them together. The intelligence of the work is a reference to radio waves developed from vacuum tubes and the idea of enlightenment through communication. There is an addition reference to the play of interior /exterior integrity of form from a historically notable ceramic art, Bernard Leach book, A Potter in Japan related to the philosophies of eastern thought.

Most importantly, shaping form with the cold working process was discovered which articulated my creative voice to new heights. Freely carving forms without the constraints of heat and time, exponentially elevated the primary choices of using glass for art. ( see, Johansfors Series) My work was no longer restricted to life in the decorative arts – “not that there is anything wrong with that”, but it elevated subject matter and process.

Upon returning to the states I could not melt super-pure glass without getting bubbles or some devitrification in my furnaces. This became a problem with hand blown parts. The solution was to use borosilicate glass. Pyrex further integrated science and my work because of its exclusive use in chemistry, biology and all scientific experiments. Along the same lines, flawless high-density scientific optical glasses are exclusively used in all my work today. Platinum lined furnaces make very high quality material.

Accepting a faculty position at the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, seemed to be a very good fit, but it involved a 2,300 mile move from the natural beauty of Idaho - Oregon border to Western New York. This move resulted in an upheaval in my personal life with the an endless gray of the exceptionally long winter days making an impact on me and ultimately my work. In search of relief from depression, I introduced color to the interior of the work first using as an accent and later became a source of activity within the whole structure. Color mimicked wiring codes of technology and distinguished sections of the sculpture, bringing new life, to both, myself and the work.

Color allowed two related but separate sections to exist within one sculpture and held the composition together. The inter-core components became an energy source or nervous system, which was then protected by dense volumetric layers of plasma. Plainer shapes extended out to feed on reality, thus protecting the inner core and directing the viewer to the complexity of the core. It is much like a simplistic biological system of the sea urchin. The form and color are static yet modulating, with the color compartments becoming activated when the viewer moves from one position to another. The interaction of the viewer with the artwork motivates both. (reference Synoptic Torsion Series) Small scale was consciously used with the forms envisioned as parts for a larger system used with compartmentalized components acting interlocking puzzle parts. The exterior arms served as connectors and receivers much like an electrical plug and receptacle to fit the imagined larger device. The whole sculpture could be a component for a purpose in future science with idealistic cultural and social achievement as a vital part of a machine such as the mammoth Hadron Collider.

Practical and technical issues of placement, material, predominant color etc. are ultimately guided by an awareness of formula surrounding my work and its relationship to social consciousness grew along with the process. This consciousness It is a double edged sword with references to politically motivated greed and the psychotic behavior perpetrated by nefarious leaders – war - along with ideological monotheistic religions that desecrated whole periods of history and the raw cruelty of human kind. Science can be miraculous, but it’s contributions also produces weapons of mass destruction. At the same time the burgeoning study of binary codes for computer science and another scientific novelty, genome research - charting DNA was in preliminary research stage. These monumental achievements (and others) in sciences have made an enormous impact on all of us.

It is reinforcing to me to see direct correlations with the preeminent theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, professor at NYU. In his book, Physics of the Impossible, He frequently refers to science fiction with his theoretical projections i.e. antimatter, teleportation, force fields, time travel. Science Fiction like everything exists on many levels from nonsense to intellectual consideration. The point being that technically informed, fiction generally has more factual depth. H.G. Wells is the father of science fiction. He based his work in hard science. As physical form develops in my work, implied movement becomes an important aspect as its relationship to calculus, the mathematical study of movement.

Another aspect of the work relates to an off balance or on the fear of falling. This is a conscious effort by the moment in all our lives when uncontrollable spontaneous combustion occurs hence the unpredictability of fate.