Art, Tesseract, and No Rules
BY ANGELA ROMEO
Warhol famously said, “Art is what you can get away with.” Sadly the factors most overlooked in arts are true talent and passion. Too often in the cult of the amateur we accept mediocrity for “art”. Steve Shigley has both passion and talent.
Shig, as he is known, is a self-taught abstract metal sculptor, fabricator and painter. With a “no rules” approach, Shig takes his art to the depth of his imagination. A perfect piece is one that both he and the observer enjoy.
His body of work is impressive. His earlier works include Joshua Tree Sculptures and The Bells. The largest of the yuccas, the Joshua Tree grows only in the Mojave Desert and grows nowhere else in the world. The starkness of Shig’s sculptures evokes the mysticism of the Joshua Tree. The work is reminiscent of the burned trunks of the wildfires that have plagued California, yet the pieces exude life. It is from the ashes that new life emerges. There is reverence and respect in the work.
The Bells are born from the upcycling of reclaimed tanks that vary in size and shape. Each bell emits its own unique sound. Constructed with the skill of a craftsman mixed with the soul of an artist, the bells, in their simplicity, are rich in tonality and form.
As with any true artist, boundaries are non-existent. To that end one need only to look at Shig’s sculpture for the recent Bombay Beach Biennale. This yearly event is an uncurated curated event that celebrates life that thrives on the shores of the Salton Sea. This year Shig was challenged to create a Tesseract.
What is a tesseract? It is defined as a four-dimensional analog of the cube; a cube within a cube where the inner cube is one-half the size of the outer cube creating an illusion of infinity.
“This piece is my first large scale commissioned work. It is a work of public art, a direction I wish to explore,” said Shig. “I created a 20 foot cube with a 10 foot cube constructed inside. We believe this is the largest such tesseract in existence.”
“The challenges were two-fold. Firstly I had never constructed a tesseract nor had I ever constructed a piece of this scale. The work was constructed at the site. Site-specific installation requires that all material and equipment be brought in. Work is done is whatever conditions are present, sun, wind and rain. The end result was worth the sleepless nights.”
“The Salton Sea is a landmark that draws people. Bombay Beach is drawing artists. It provides a unique opportunity for artists to create visual impact.”
“My new work is using the controlled chaos of what I learned at Bombay Beach and from creating the Tesseract. I am over the perfect 90-degree angle. I am looking at finishes, material, colors and seeing tremendous possibilities. Pushing myself keeps me creative,” continued Shig.
Shig is currently preparing for a month long artist in residency program outside of Paris, France at the Chateau O’quevue. He was invited to create the first outdoor steel sculpture on the grounds, and to help establish a metal shop for future artists to use. “I was approached through my Instagram account. The owner of the chateau has asked me to create a piece that will be the start of their sculpture garden. This is a new challenge that I look forward to undertaking.”
For more information on Steve Shigley and his work, visit www.sshigley.com. His work is also available at Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery, 68895 Perez Road, I 13, Cathedral City.