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Alan Steele

ARTIST STATEMENT

History finds much of its substance in created objects. Any theory of knowledge which excludes artifacts also excludes history, and leaves out a fundamental and basic understanding of the objects and their attachment to tradition, culture and geography. An anthropologist does not come upon a person until he discovers the artifact, a revelation of local control, something done at a specific place and time. Find an artifact and you encounter a person; find a stone and you do not.


My initial idea was to create a map that would set before me an ordered totality so that ideas and concepts, which are finite and particular, may have a setting in an infinity. In this way local control, preplanning and decisions can be manifested and articulated. This map serves as a yardstick, that by process and its repeated use in measuring would generate a continuum of ideas. Thus, the work would be free to move in an unlimited extension toward the infinite. Allowing ideas to be interpreted in any media, and any dimension. 


The current state of the work has grown into a knowledgeable witness, since its original inception, the evolution of the work has taken on a life of its own. Much of the current process still develops by the process taking it apart and reassembling it. In this way unusual questions can be addressed, lending itself to resolving ideas in drawings, works on paper and fabricated works. Much of the preliminary work is contingent on the fabricated pieces. Though many of the ideas that are worked out beforehand that are developed in the drawings that can be so complex, and that are so contingent on the fabricated pieces or installations they gloss, giving the opportunity to clarify some of those complex issues that they reveal. 


The process is like a circular investigation, the end and the beginning are reciprocal. The work has its own genealogy. The past work exerts its influence on the new work, the new work self-references the past. In this way I wanted to reconcile spontaneity and discipline as two elements in my work. Any ordered totality, sustained only by the process, would be equivalent to what one applies one’s own mind to. Its maintenance and extension are equivalent to what one could mean by one's will.