Wk 4 – Gallery Visit / Artist Interview – Mitch Springer

This week’s galleries have hands down been the best so far. It was really hard to choose a favorite when the options consist of exhibits like the pink furry wall, amazing glasswork sculpture, and colorful and masterfully disproportional sculptures of people. I eventually decided to interview Mitch Springer, whose work I would say seems straightforward but actually gets more complex on further inspection. Ironically, Mitch himself is the same way. He was hanging out by the table reading a book when I approached him expecting a conversation just about his work yet I ended up with topics such as science and naturally occurring phenomena.

I first asked about how he blended the colors on the above picture (which I’m a fool for not getting the name of) expecting to get back a response about a straightforward painting technique. Instead he starts to explain to me that the color actually comes from the atmosphere of the kiln, the reds stemming from the amount of carbon and the blue stemming from the amount of oxygen. My next question was about the cracked texture, which was interestingly enough done by experimenting with different materials and heat adjustment. The slab against the wall is actually two layers, the back that always stays the same size and the front which actually expands and contracts based on the different rates of temperature increasing and decreasing. The stagnant size of the back piece then forces the front to stretch and eventually crack.

We then talked about his influences and what got him into this medium. He said he’s always liked pottery which then got him into ceramics. He really likes the process of making it and then firing it in the kiln, which then translates to an appreciate for the processes that nature goes through to create stalactites and stalagmites. This ever shifting characteristic also appeals to Mitch because, using his method, he can stop the process when he wants and capture where it is in the process almost as if he was freezing time. For instance in the picture below, the liquid on the hand mold was molten but he managed to rapidly cool it so that the drips on the underside solidified in their current positions.

photo 2

On a sidenote, in conversation he mentioned that his twin brother, Mike, makes compositionally expansive folk music under the name Black Kaweah. My good friend, Andy, and I looked it up, it was phenomenal, and you can find it here on this page: http://www.blackkaweahmusic.com/


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