Gallery4Culture: W. Scott Trimble – Tread

The second stop on my First Thursday Tour was Gallery4Culture, which was showing TREAD by W. Scott Trimble. (Give it some time for the second link to work; it’s not archived yet.) This was one of the best shows I saw all evening.  Trimble is fascinated with the idea of maze-like raised paths — boardwalks; the gallery is filled with drawings of them on paper, and winding sculptures made from miniature cedar planking.

Gallery4Culture

Woven Tread Study #3 (W. Scott Trimble, Cedar) Image: Gallery4Culture

Trimble had installed his beautiful walkways on the walls, and close inspection of them revealed that they were modular — like a child’s racecar track, they could be reassembled in nearly any configuration, yet maintain their pleasing visual order.

(To be fair, Pedro Reyes has beaten him to the punch with this particular idea. He currently has an installation over the Information Desk at the Seattle Art Museum that hung for some time (in a different configuration) over at the Olympic Sculpture Park. I like it FAR better than the Cai Guo Qiang cars, and I can’t wait for them to leave sometime later this year! Woo! I could get entirely off track here (ha!), but I’ll leave it to say that modular art deserves its own post, as it presents some fascinating issues. )

Trimble’s work particularly resonated with me for personal reasons: I’ve built structures like this, in the wilderness. Maybe not crazy labyrinthine ones that go up and down and in and out, but I’ve spent days of my life, knee deep in muck, building boardwalk and puncheon, sawing up fallen cedars, hauling in decking or splitting it on site. No one likes to get their feet wet, and you build puncheon, or even bridges, where it’s too boggy to hike otherwise. Trimble has worked in miniature – with even the proper materials, cedar (it is averse to rot in our wet, wet climate) – the appropriate proportions for fairly standard boardwalk. I could point out the sills, the stringers, the decking.

Unlike a trail, however, which can peter out into overgrown brush, a boardwalk suggests that someone knows where you should be going, and that there is a clear destination. No one builds a boardwalk for no reason. So, Trimble’s meandering and modular paths seem to pose a question: just where are you going? And are you putting blind faith into that path that you’re walking on?

W. Scott Trimble’s show is on display through January 30th.

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~ by ecp on January 9, 2009.

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