Location: Jersey City, New Jersey
Featured Work: (D)Construction Drawing
Source: 2017-2018 CIVA Sourcebook
From curator Michelle Westmark Wingard.
“Albert Pedulla’s piece is art historically aware and visually innovative.”
Describe your featured work.
This piece exists as both a sculpture and a photographic print. The sculpture was built to be photographed. It was constructed for the optics of a particular lens shot at a specific distance. The 35mm analogue negative that I take is then printed as a gum-bichromate enlargement (a mid-nineteenth century, pigment-based printing process) using blue pigment. The result is a detailed “blueprint” for the construction of the chairs. Viewing the sculpture from exactly the right vantage point in the gallery, the third dimension collapses and it flattens out completely. The sculpture transforms into an enormous “drawing,” hovering in space.
These two physical objects–sculpture and photograph–conjure a third, non-corporeal presence: the concept of the chair. Typically, a designer has an idea for a chair and drafts it. Then a carpenter fabricates a prototype based on these blueprints. But here, the blueprints have been conjured out of the physical objects. Idea distilled from object. Objects inspired idea. What comes first? Where and what is the “real” chair? (note: Kosuth only had three chairs; I have four). This engages an age old philosophical debate rooted in a clash between Platonic idealism (Plato famously uses a chair to forward his idea of the ideal “form”) and Aristotelian empiricism. Oversimplified, true knowledge comes either from our mind or our senses as we take in the world. This philosophic debate continues to rage today, and I am interested in complicating it. I am interested in a radical immanence that art can assert.
My work is driven by ideas. Ideas will float in and engage me. I may toy with them and turn them around for a time, and maybe I will set them aside. Then one comes motoring back and demands my attention. These ideas come in visual form but are freighted with other notions below deck. I am equally interested in the ship and its cargo. I believe a ship is always designed for the cargo it carries.
What are you making now?
I have spent the past eight years following a narrow path of inquiry focused on conceptual notions of photography. A tangent emerged related to my photographic process of “manually digitizing” photographs, in which I use a twenty-step gray scale. The new work is a tiny installation piece; a twelve-tone gray portrait of the famous twelve-tone composer, Elliot Carter. I renovated his apartment in NYC shortly after his death and incorporate a salvaged object in the piece. While committed to following the logic of my explorations, my path seemed to be constricting. I also love avant-garde jazz, and I had been toying around with a portrait of the trumpeter Lester Bowie. This has turned into a large–almost hallucinogenic–installation: 225 painted, two-inch round, metal-rimmed tags hanging from coat hooks that are attached to the wall–light bulbs, dimmers,and wires everywhere. Set free by free jazz.
Why do you belong to CIVA?
I belong to CIVA because I believe we are called to work in community. I am deeply invested in my local community, but I also need the input of a broader range of artists, theologians, theorists, and friends; colleagues who share my deepest convictions, and are also engaged in some of the conversations that are life-giving to me. Selfishly, I belong to CIVA because I have discovered such compelling people, gifted artists, and deep friendship.
Albert Pedulla is an artist and writer who lives and works in the New York City area where he also runs a design/build firm. He has received artist’s grants from the Texas Arts Commission, and New Jersey Council on the Arts. He was selected to participate in the Triangle Arts Foundation’s international artist residency program and received a CORE residency at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He has written on art for the journals IMAGE, Comment and SEEN Journal as well as catalogue essays including Rescinding Disbelief: The Post-Skeptical Realism of Guy Chase.