I think about my work’s relationship to the viewer a lot. I am very concerned with space and how my work can alter, transform, highlight, or disguise it for the viewer. I sometimes want my work to physically change the shape of a space and how people move through it, but other times I am more interested in how a piece can make the viewers aware of the space in a different way. Many of the artists that I look at for inspiration are minimalists, so I was interested in Michael Fried’s essay, Art and Objecthood. The part I found most interesting, was most of his critiques of what he called literalist art, I found as positives and reasons why I am drawn to minimalist or literalist art. He argues that the literalists’ works have objecthood, which demand a theatrical read. The size of the literalists work causes the viewer to become a subject. The viewer is both considered and a part of the work, but also separate from the piece. Literalist works confront the viewer and often stand in his or her way. This is what excites me about large minimalist work. It forces me to both contemplate the work, but it also makes me aware of myself and the space that I and the piece take up.
This makes me think of when I saw Michael Heizer’s work, North, East, South, West. It is a massive sculpture where primitive geometric forms are cut out of the floor to create enormous voids. The piece alters how you walk when near it. It almost has an invisible fence around it. I was acutely aware of how massive the voids were, which made me much more aware of my own body and the space it took up. The theatricality of the piece allowed me to have a visual as well as embodied experience of the piece.