Work: I-Beam
Year: 2006
Construction: Aluminium
Size: 1240mm x 600mm x 3360mm


David McCracken’s I Beam is basically a fabrication of a massive section of a universal beam or RSJ, a commonly used form in the construction industry. The Brick Bay work is the final piece in a series that David McCracken has developed around the theme of ‘portraits of raw materials’. This is a theme that has occupied him for the last three or four years. Brick Bay’s I Beam is easily the largest in the series. This particular work is a logical extension of the work he produced in 2005 (also called I Beam) that was a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards.

Works in this series rely on attention to detail and proportion to make them believable. The artist’s intention is to present these unremarkable materials in such a way as to make them surprising. There is an element of theatre in the works. McCracken uses his creative vision, his technical expertise and a degree of artifice to present an exaggerated version of common materials and utilitarian forms.

There is always a sense of drama with McCracken’s works. They are dramatic in the sense that they perform something they are not. I Beam is fabricated out of aluminium but gives the impression of being solid steel. There is a sense of irony too in that McCracken is working against all commercial practice as he takes a very modern material and uses high technology to ‘dumb down’ its appearance.

The scale of these fabricated objects invests them with drama. So too does the context. Lying on a grassy knoll the work invites thought. How did it come to be here? What huge edifice was it once part of? What else used to be here? The work invites contemplation of the environment and invokes musings on the passage of time, human intervention in the landscape and the significance (and ultimately the insignificance) of human effort and travail.


Other works