While art galleries across the city have been forced to close their doors amid the current COVID-19 health crisis, publicly accessible art installations are one of the community’s few options left available for viewing. Thankfully the team at Sulfur Studios in conjunction with local artist Kench Lott Weathers’ are presenting the artists’ newest instillation “Die Existenz”.
Functioning as an all-volunteer run gallery and multi-purpose art organization, Sulfur has been curating installations for display at Green Truck Pub’s Drive-Thru Art Box for almost a year now. The box, restored from its former glory as a drive-thru menu display for the restaurants' prior occupants was originally renovated to display rotating weather-fast art displays in 2012 by local public arts initiative SeeSAW (See Savannah Art Walls).
Weathers’ work, constructed from angular pieces of metal and occasionally wood, disrupts and challenges the viewers' understanding of their environments’ spatial qualities. These shapes, often warped, bent, or seeming to fold in on oneself conjure visions of the optical illusions formerly relegated to paper by artists like M.C. Escher, yet, crafted from solid physical materials, the pieces often force audiences to investigate them from multiple angles.
“I’ve been working with non-representational geometric shapes for years;” said Weathers. “I like how universal they are. I manipulate the forms to where the viewer has a hard time distinguishing between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional qualities in my work. I enjoy playing with perspective; I like to make 3D structures look flat while making the 2D structures look 3D.”
While the piece's title “Die Existenz” may seem macabre, translated the term means “pure existence” in its’ noun form.
“It is quite relevant in context to everything that’s going currently in the world,” said Weathers. “I thought of this concept a few months back when there was a bit more tension between the United States and Iran. The ongoing controversy between the West and Iran has always baffled me. Peace treaties and talks with foreign nations can be necessary, but not always. I had this realization that humans, nations and multi-national alliances can just exist and be in harmony with each other. Maybe not without some sort of divine intervention, but it is possible; it just has to initially start with the individual.”
Weathers’ attributes part of the pieces’ conceptual inspiration to Sulfur co-founder and Studio & Exhibitions Coordinator, Jennifer Moss.
“When I was considering writing the proposal, I had visual ideas, but my concept was lacking,” said Weathers. “I talked to Jenifer Moss from Sulfur, and she mentioned that art can just ‘look cool’ and that not everything has to have a deep conceptual nature to it. I took her advice somewhat and soon recognized that some things can merely exist and be appreciated. This idea evolved into the formal statement.”
“I hope people get a bit lost in my work,” Weathers added. “I hope people forget about all the irrelevant nonsense in the world today and start focusing on things that matter. I’m just hoping and praying everything settles down soon. Until then, everyone should try to keep healthy and safe. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this illness.”