'Pataphysical Ponderings

A solo exhibition of my work will be on view at:

Leu Art Gallery

Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee

June 30-September 9, 2016

Reception: Tuesday, July 12, 5:30-8:00PM

 

Craig Nutt, Burning, 2002, Oil Paint and Lacquer on wood, fabric by Janet Taylor.

‘Pataphysical Ponderings

After a thirty-plus year career as a full-time studio artist, and motivated by working with artists after Hurricane Katrina, I took a decade-long “Sabbatical” to work as Director of Programs for CERF+, a national disaster relief organization that serves artists. This detour from the studio was a natural extension of my life-long work with arts organizations as an organizer, volunteer, and board member.  As significant and creatively satisfying as this work was, I yearned to return to a full-time studio practice and did so recently.

 In New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina with CERF+ Director Cornelia Carey

In New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina with CERF+ Director Cornelia Carey

At this transition in my career, I am revisiting some of my earliest creative works, which on the surface seem far removed from the furniture and sculpture that has captivated my interest for over four decades. For the first time, I am exhibiting some musical instruments and LP recordings from the 1970’s when I was exploring freely improvised music with a collective of like-minded artists, who shared an interest in ‘pataphysics – French playwright Alfred Jarry’s (1873-1907) science of imaginary solutions. ‘Pataphysics anticipated and inspired surrealism and the Theatre of the Absurd.  The notion of imaginary solutions has continued to appeal to me.  If artists are creative problem solvers, perhaps we are all ‘pataphysicians.  In retrospect, I see that this early creative interest laid a foundation for my later work in furniture and sculpture.

 CD Reissue of  Raudelunas 'Pataphysical Revue , Recorded 1975, Click image for more information on these recordings..

CD Reissue of Raudelunas 'Pataphysical Revue, Recorded 1975, Click image for more information on these recordings..

Maquettes (sculptor’s parlance for scale models) serve as a bridge between the spontaneity of improvised music and the less than spontaneous craft of furniture making. I find that I can “sketch” my ideas in 3-D, making and modifying models during the design process to explore multiple possible versions of a piece of furniture or sculpture. Photographing the models transforms them from miniatures to the appearance of full-scale works. Working with low contrast prints, I then experiment with colors and detail with colored pencils. The selection of maquettes and color studies in this exhibition give a glimpse into my technique for making the transition from imaginary to real solutions.

Butterbean Chair, Color Study, Maquette, Finished Chair

Coming as it does, at the end of my tenure with CERF+ and my return to a full-time studio practice, this exhibition is timely. It gives me an opportunity to share some of my work over the last several decades, to consider the thematic threads that tie it together, and to renew my ‘pataphysical experiments.

Craig Nutt, Hung Jury, 2012,  35"x24"x9", wood.

Craig Nutt, Three by Three Tree Box, 2016, wood.

-Craig Nutt, June 2016

Check out this piece on the show in Nashville Arts magazine.