Bean Finneran: sculpture
10. June - 05. August 2018
Finissage on August 5th, 2018, 3:00 - 5:30 pm. Who ever sees Bean Finneran's sculptures for the first time is impressed. After gazing at the artworks for a moment, the viewer starts asking questions: What is it? What is the sculpture made out of? Ceramics? But the sculpture looks soft, not hard. Question after question arises. The answers lead to more questions and to contemplation about Bean Finneran's works.
Her studio is in a swamp at the bay of San Francisco that is influenced by the changing of the tide. Here she watches the constant changes that take place in nature: how the water level rises and falls, coverIng and uncovering plants. Perhaps this is the key to understanding her art: transformation. It is this experience - in combination with Bean Finneran's decades of stage experience with the avantgarde theater group SOON3 - that flows into her work.
The artist puts months if not years of work into her sculptures. She rolls out of clay by hand the basic elements of her sculptures - "curves" as she calls them. These clay curves are all different with various widths, lengths and degrees of curvature. No two curves are alike. After rolling, some of the curves are dipped in glaze. After firing, they are painted by hand. If one thinks about the amount of curves she needs to build a ring with a diameter of two meters, this labor intensive production is astonishing. For Bean, it is meditation.
Her sculptures get their grand appearance at exhibitions. The first important decision to be made is where to set up the sculptures, because once they have been built they can not be moved.
Setting up the sculptures is in itself like a performance. With the help of her assistants she builds curve by curve geometric shapes. The sizes vary depending on the space in which they are in.
Art historian Dr. Kerstin Skrobanek on Bean Finneran's sculptures: "Bean Finneran's works draw their fascination from the tension between pairs of opposites: stabile - unstable, geometric - organic, serial - handmade, hard - soft, compact - modular. Out of hard, handmade basic elements she builds organic geometric shapes that, being made out of small component parts, somehow make the impression of being serially made. Industrial and natural impressions permeate each other: on the one hand her sculptures conjure up associations with sea anenomes or anthers of flowers, while on the other hand they look as though they are made out of soft, bendable rubbery tubes. Looking at her sculptures visions of fired clay do not immediately come to mind."
Skrobanek continues: "Bean Finneran's sculptures are an experience for the senses due to their vibrant colors and seemingly soft, swaying nature. We feel attracted to them and would really like to touch them. Our associations vary from plants and sea creatures to jewelry and feather boas. At the same time her work challenges us on an intellectual level because we start asking ourselves how sculptures work and what we expect from sculpture today."
After every exhibition the sculptures are taken apart completely and the curves packed away in their boxes - until their next performance.