Wall Sconce

July 1973
Brentwood, Missouri
Oak
H: 48 in. x W: 48 in. x D: 3 in.

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The Wall Sconce is a study on the number seven used to cut and divide an oak plank in 3 regular arithmetic progressions, vertically, horizontally, and in thickness. The simple overall shape encloses a very precise control for the activity of sawing on the table saw. Only a handful of sawdust was eliminated in the process. The work from this period represents the purging of acceptable aesthetic ideas. It is “clean slate thinking” via negation. The questions, “What shall we do and how shall we do it?” preempt the results and concentrate on process. The found oak planks existed as potential energy, cut once by humans in a lumber yard, used without regard in stacking steel pipe in railroad gondola cars, and disgarded after use. The neglect of this valuable natural material seemed appalling. Something would be done to bring the material back. The artist enjoyed the smell of sawn oak; he enjoyed sawing wood; he would preserve as much of the material as possible, while reorganizing it. Only a control for his activity was needed. “Arithmetic progression” was selected because it was as far removed from art making as possible.