This piece is part of a series where I'm using small plastic babies symbolic for children or youth. It's about mankind and the one constant, war. The child grows up, history repeats itself and off to war they go.
"Over and Over and Over Again"
10" x 8" x 5"
"Micro Housing" (1 of 3)
5" x 3.5" x "4"
"Pack em in like Sardine's"
This next piece is a play off an earlier piece "Guardians of the Goddess"
On the weekends I usually make my way to the eastern market in Detroit and try to make a stop at Eastern Market Antiques. I found a humidor similar to the blue piece I did. I reworked the piece, sandblasted it and got to work.
It's about Bibendum, the Michelin man as an icon. 100+ years after his birth, Bibendum stills appears all over the world.
39.5" x 20" x 10"
19" x 10" x 5"
Plastic, Rubber, Wood
"Minnie Minnie Friends"
26" x 14" x 7"
Wood, Plastic, Rubber
This next piece started at Detroit Antiques Mall when I found an old frame from Mexico and thought it would work nicely as an armature. I painted it ivy green at first, but it just didn't feel right to me with the toys I was going to use. I went back to the hardware and was happy to find bubble gum pink gloss spray paint, it's was perfect for this piece.
The piece is called "Minnie Minnie Friends". I love the old Disney characters; also love Ub Iwerks who designed Mickey and Minnie Mouse. He never got the recognition from Disney for his many contributions to some of the most successful characters of Disney. Minnie, Mickey and all the other great Disney characters he created.
"Boy Girl Gender Queer"
16" x 4"x 4" Plastic, Rubber, Steel
This piece is about gender confusion and or conflict. The feeling of having both male and female aspects. Identifying as either all male or female, or M to F or F to M, or somewhere there in between. Feeling naked and exposed, but also feeling comfortable in your own skin.
"Guardians of the Goddess"
39.5" x 18.5" x 10"
This next piece is an assemblage I did on a little humidor stand a friend gave me. Already been stripped of it's paint, I just had to glue it back together and a good sand, prime it and ready to go. I've always liked working with furniture, refinishing, restoring. Most of my friends know not to throw anything away without asking me first. I'm such a hoarder! Another friend gave me these fantastic wooden dragons that I used in the piece. They were attached on the back of both sides to give it shape and help with the composition. I like the dimension of this one over working on a flat surface, it's more about finding the shape to create that dimensional sculptural look.
The piece is about protecting the three goddess at all cost. I wanted to get away from working on flat panels, the piece is also functional the sword is attached to a small drawer. The three goddess resin piece in the back, is the first piece I bought at a thrift store in Manistee with this work in mind.
A few of the artist that I am personally drawn to and inspired by are Ivan Majdrakoff, Kris Kuksi, Hideki Kuwajim, Rondel West just to name a few that create complex assemblage sculpture from found objects, primarily toys. Sayaka Ganz is Japanese artist who uses waste plastic utensils, toys and tidbits. One of my very favorites though is Bill Georgene, what a story his life has been, between his detail oriented paintings, or his assemblage work I could stare at both for hours and hours.
Liberty #4 (Sold)
"Blue is for Boys, Pink is for Girls"
46.5" x 25"
The "Liberty"series is a compilation of six panels, five which are completed. All panels have some common thread that works throughout them. The layout, the use of the liberty statue and other similar symbolic elements, the alphabet cube (the male cube is x,y for male chromosome, the female v,w vagina woman) the others are initials of who I had in mind when assembling. The skull and a few other repeating elements.
The next two work together and are about man and woman and gender association. The journey of life, from infancy to adulthood. A collage of visual stimuli, a collection of historic symbols made of plastic that evoke a memory of youth.
This piece is an ensemble intended to be viewed together.
In addition to these two pieces, my brother Frank has made me a gift and posted it on instagram. It now will be part of this series, a collaboration with Frank.
To me, my brother Frank is an artistic genius, he not only is an amazing conceptual visual artist, but also a very talented musician and writer who plays in the musical group with our other bother John called the "Aluminum Group" out of Chicago.
Franks blog: http://thecharleyboat.blogspot.com/
"Reversible Gender" Gift from Frank Navin
"Homage to Ivan"
This next series of work is to pay homage to an artist who both inspires and motivates me. Ivan Majdrakoff who at 87 years old still goes to his studio everyday to work in Oakland, CA.
Ivan has acted as a mentor to me through this series of work.
His use of assemblage and toys resonates with me and this series was made with Ivan in mind, called "Homage to Ivan" The Liberty series.
Ivan resides in the bay area and has a studio in Oakland, CA
(sadly, Ivan passed away Sep 2015)
Liberty # 1
17. 5" x 32"
wood, plastic toys, paint
Liberty # 2
17. 5" x 32"
Liberty # 3 (sold)
17. 5" x 32"
"Weight of the World"
12" x 12"
This piece is called "Weight of the World", the concept is about the children of today and the many pressures imposed onto them. There are 308 infant babies on 1/4" plexiglass holding up roughly 900 1/75th scale figures on 1/8th" plexiglass.
My brother Frank had introduced me to a Korean artist Do Ho Suh's work. He had taken me to the Chicago Art Museum to see the piece "Figuras Públicas" done in 2001. Do Ho Suh uses tiny people to hold up a monument. I had almost forgotten about the piece until my brother and sister reminded me of his work when they saw this piece.
I love the way he uses his small figures, particularly in his more recent work, where he uses his figures to hold up a floor, or his piece called "Karma". Somewhere in my subconscious mind I must have been influenced by him, as I look at his work today I am a big fan and continue to be inspired by the scale and nature of his work.
© Copyright Cal Navin "2014"