Spotlight, William Metcalf, 2005
illiam Metcalf has always
liked making things with his hands. From the time he could hold a
pencil, he began to draw, and soon he progressed to building intricate
models, mostly of anything that moves through space. As an adult,
Metcalf moved from model airplanes to home-built aircraft, and
ultimately to a form of artwork that essentially works as a craft for
navigating perceptual space.
The idea to use polyester came as something of an epiphany. As he was reading a description of a Robert Ryman painting done on polyester, it occurred to him that this would be the ideal material for achieving the quasi-sculptural painting mode that he was seeking. Never one to lose time, Metcalf ran right out to the fabric store and began a phase of his career that has produced an important innovation in painting: the incorporation of interior space into what has heretofore remained primarily an opaque, flat medium.
The polyester paintings hang flat against the wall, but their shapes and composition offer the viewer a complex experience of light, space and movement. As a highly refined exploration of space and light, they provide the viewer with a series of sails for cruising the perceptual realm.