What's the Use?

“Use” is a wonderfully tricky and slippery word. It can shift from noun to verb in a contextual heartbeat. Art, not normally thought of as “useful”, gathers meaning in the arena of the mind. “Functional” Art acquires meaning over time, and through the physical and ritual interactions of opening, pulling, sitting, lifting, filling, cleaning, sleeping, eating, loving,
Use based art might be defined as an object that displays utilitarian and expressive qualities simultaneously. When an object begins to favor utility over its expressive nature, it falls in to the realm of “design”. On the other hand, when the utilitarian function of an object is put into service of an idea or becomes subordinate to expressive consideration, the object approaches the realm of “art”. The body and the hand frame and reference the utilitarian aspects of these objects, while the eye and the mind are engaged by expression. Functional art vacillates, meanders, slithers and morphs, between corporeal experience and aesthetic perception.

My goal is to make meaningful use-based objects that are not burdened by contrived narratives or representational imagery. In my current work the struggle to find solutions to complex problems of form, choices of color and pattern and the investigation of sacred geometries, converge to create objects of occult or hidden significance. The assignment of meaning to these objects will be left to the user

David Fobes 2005



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