John Bisbee – State of the Studio

“American Steel”; 4”, 6”, 8”, and 12” Bright Common Spikes, Weld; dimensions variable, 2018.
“American Steel”; 4”, 6”, 8”, and 12” Bright Common Spikes, Weld; dimensions variable, 2018.

For the last year and a half, I have been obsessed with creating my upcoming show, American Steel, at CMCA. It is a true departure for me on many fronts: it’s realist, it’s text-driven, it’s political, and hopefully it’s funny. If it’s not a little bit funny something’s gone wrong, and if it doesn’t go past this charged political moment, something has also gone wrong.

I’m attempting to unpack my abstract and specific thoughts about this country of ours.

The work runs from the miniature–oyster shells–to the macro–enormous pillars and a serpent. I’m hoping the work will read like a dark allegorical fairytale with some optimistic twists. It  has been an amazing work cycle. So many new discoveries of technique and form and specificity. When I’m not terrified I’m having the best time of my life.

The obvious reason for this strange new batch of work is the injection of toxins that this current administration has shot into our politics, and even more significantly, into our society. Trump has opened the door that I had hoped would remain locked at the bottom of the ocean. People just feel comfortable spitting hate without ever hearing or even wanting a cogent response. Because the dialogue seems so discordant, I felt compelled to enter it.

John Bisbee studio shot #1, photo courtesy of J. Myer
John Bisbee studio shot #2, photo courtesy of J. Myer
John Bisbee studio shot #3, photo courtesy of J. Myer