Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Graduate NEXT Exhibit Opening April 29

All of the hard work will finally pay off as Grad students display their work in the NEXT exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The exhibit will be on display through May 18, 2015 in Washington, D.C. I'm very excited to have my cardboard sculptures on display in Gallery 31 along with three of my colleagues.

NEXT Exhibit Highlights New Direction in My Art Practice

My artwork in the NEXT exhibition focuses on the cardboard box as a basic utilitarian object and represents a new direction in my work. My challenge included how to transform this industrial prefabricated object into art. The production of the sculptures involved mostly tearing with my hands, as opposed to using scissors or knives. I also refrained from using tape or adhesives as much as possible. 
I was drawn to the contrasting surfaces of these unadorned boxes that consisted of mostly smooth liner board contrasted with fluted, corrugated layers. By pulling, tearing, peeling and folding, I crafted these objects into what I call "naked sculptures."
The wall hung installations, however (pictured in the corner) incorporate color that was originally printed on the box surface in playful constructions.
A single box was used in each sculpture, be it a wardrobe, shoe, printer or flower box. Using mainly recycled boxes that were a part of my consumption over a period of time, the installation forms a type of snapshot of my consumer habits and speaks to issues of mass consumption and waste in modern society. My current art practice interestingly, lies in direct opposition to my former freelance career as a package designer for companies such as Mattel Toys, Disney, Barnum and Bailey Circus, in which the design of excessive packaging for the purposes of marketing and sales was the rule. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Photo Critique

Photo by Denny Henry
I shared some of my photos from my early cardboard installations with my Corcoran classmates and professor at a critique. We debated whether I should include them in my sculpture exhibit at Gallery 31 in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in May.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Branded Boxes Evolving From a Single Unit

One thing that was important to me while creating these cardboard sculptures was that it grew out of a single box. For example, on the top is a Skechers brand and on the bottom, a Life Stride brand shoe box. No other boxes were used. I was interested in discovering how far I could go in transforming a single item into something else. These sculptures would hang on the wall, while others may sit on the floor. I enjoyed photographing these and the play of shadow cast on the wall. When I exhibit these, the lighting will be crucial.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Greenbox Transformed

Photos by Denny Henry
My floral box starts to come alive at a critique in the studio. I'm pleased with the ways the colors interact and the overall sculpture shape.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I returned to the studio the next day to solve the problem of the boxiness of the sculpture I worked on yesterday. I decided to subtract aspects of it by cutting out negative shapes. It's starting to feel more comfortable to me and much more organic.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Larger and larger boxes...

I decided to try working with larger boxes for my upcoming exhibition. I was able to get a wardrobe box from a friend. It was hard to tear the box to reveal the layers beneath. 

My challenge was to move beyond the box shape. It was all about transforming the box into something else. I left the studio that day feeling like I still had so much more work to do. 


As my deadline of April 20 loomed near for the installation of the NEXT graduate exhibition at the Corcoran, I had to step up my production. It was great experimenting with different colored boxes. This sculpture was created from a floral box sent to my house from my niece in Chicago for my birthday. I love the green printed exterior and the chocolate brown contrasted against the fluted corrugated board sandwiched between layers. Every box has a story. Photographing the sculptures added a whole new dramatic dimension.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Community Collaboration

As my deadline drew closer I enlisted the help of friends to help me tear the boxes. Everyone did their share of work. It helped a great deal.