Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Erector Square: Bob Gregson

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Erector Square: Bob Gregson
Oct. 15, 2006.

"What fascinates me as an artist is that somehow artwork needs to connect with people. The person seeing it or viewing it brings their own experiences to it," Bob Gregson told me in his Erector Square studio. "In some way, I feel the piece isn't completed until someone sees the piece. Like, does the tree in the forest make a sound?"

We were standing next to his "Bicker Booth." Divided into two sections with a small window between, the booth has a Rolodex on each side. The Rolodex cards are printed with conversational clichés culled from soap operas and movies. The viewers stand on either side and have a "conversation" using the cards.

Gregson describes himself as a "hybrid." He works in photography, sculpture and painting but probably his foremost medium is concept. He is interested in pushing—gently, for his work has a lot of humor and whimsy—viewers to see beyond and between the frames of what is presented.

Interestingly, for an artist so enthralled with interactivity, his Web site is "more just a brochure," as he puts it than a cyberspace playground. He mused that he needs "to go to the next step of interaction" with the Web site. On the other hand, he expressed a preference for "face to face interaction," having grown up in the TV era where interaction was filtered and mediated by technology.

Besides the "Bicker Booth" Gregson also had on display his "Drift 2" project (see image), a sculptural work that was installed at Wilber & King Nurseries this past summer, and many of his "Constructed Paintings." With "Drift 2," six white frames were suspended in a row and a strip of mirror hung within each, diagonally staggered over the row. The viewer looks both through the work in front of them and behind themselves at the reflections. And, when "Drift 2" is installed outdoors, the breeze adds another active dimension to the work.

The "Constructed Paintings" in the studio consisted of birch plywood squares screwed together in different configurations (visible in the background of the image). Playing on the idea of visualizing "absence," Gregson painted each construction in this "Swath Series" with a black acrylic paint stripe. It is a game for himself, he said. He tries to figure out different configurations and arrangements that are aesthetically pleasing.


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