Portrait of Mass and Transmission
H 2400mm x W 220mm
Proudly presented in association with Gow Langsford Gallery
David McCraken’s Portrait of Mass and Transmission depicts a large, looped form with raised ridges, like the cleats of a caterpillar tread or an immense driving belt. By taking the utilitarian vernacular object such as the bulldozer tread, McCraken embodies a transformation from the mundane to the monumental.
The industrial materiality of the corten steel becomes synonymous with this elevation, the enduring material that ensures the sculpture will last a millennia. McCraken deeply considers the nuanced presentation of art in the public realm, and works that will last a lifetime. The funding bodies for public art often lean towards work that will not require huge maintenance in years to come, hence the weathering steel. Although the immense mass of the sculpture dominates the viewer’s eye, there is much surface nuance in this work; the hollow ‘treads’ are are welded to the corten steel, breaking the monotony of the yellow-orange streaks and rusting of the steel with a silvery patina.
Portrait of Mass and Transmission plays off delicate, weather-beaten and enduring surface against thick, weighty form. The juxtaposition of form is integral; one of cumbersome industrial materials, a cog in a machine or a tractor tyre, and the amusing, cartoonish distortion of the sculpture, as if it is an elastic band on the ground, or a wobbly kidney shape. McCracken’s titles are accordingly entertaining: The Portrait of Mass and Transmission, being as buckled as it is, denies any possibility of such functionality or implied energy transmission.