Philip Vaughan was brought up in France, went to boarding school in England and now lives in Los Angeles. During almost all of this time he has painted and sculpted. The project for his residency was a large sphere made entirely of rebar. It is now part of the BCAC Sculpture Park permanent collection.
A description of his sculpture:
The Rebar Sphere is a form that is both solid and open. Its origins lie in early 20th century particle physics and philosophy. We sense matter as hard stuff, yet a closer examination of matter reveals that it is made up of atoms and those atoms are in turn made up of charged electrons spinning in micro orbits and they are lacking in any hard substance, they are in fact bits of energy flying around nothing. The whole of matter is in fact an illusion, yet it is real enough to hurt if we drop something on our foot..
Atom – Rebar Sphere creates a spherical form out of an orthogonal grid, mirroring the way we look at and analyze form. From close up its nearly transparent yet from a distance it looks like a solid and in fact projects a shadow in sunlight.
When the observer moves around the work a visual illusion, akin to a moire pattern is created. This is part of the fascination that the artist has for these kinds of complex structures. His other kinetic work often involves visual illusions of apparent movement, such as his animated and choreographed light sculptures in neon and other media.
The nature of the work is industrial in the sense that the steel is the same rebar that is use in heavy concrete construction yet the visual sense is lightness. That contrast pleases the artist. The Sphere sits out in the landscape now, the wind blowing right through it almost as if it was not there at all. Hopefully birds might in time discover it and perch on its bars.
“Buffalo Creek art center is a project in its first few years of development. The Center has a fully working metal shop, great equipment and fabulous artists’ accommodation in the main house. All this set in a beautiful estate of some 30 acres of orchards and parkland on the side of a mountain overlooking the Carson valley.
This was my first residency and aside for the sheer beauty of the place and its climate I was most impressed by the level of support the Center affords to its artists. Unique among such places, Buffalo Creek is equipped with a well-furnished metal shop, with MIG and TIG welders, bending equipment and a host of heavy machinery to lift and move sculpture around. It also has a woodworking shop under construction, which will add a whole dimension to its offerings. Also on site is a beautifully landscaped, permanent sculpture park, featuring a growing, number of works made at the Buffalo Creek.
The combination of a pristine mountain environment, a very helpful and supportive staff, the small number of resident artists and the lively conversations with owner and founder Steve Hardy make for a wonderful opportunity to think and great place to work. My time there was extraordinary, I was able to dive into a major project and work at it for long hours every day. I was also fortunate enough to be working alongside a great group of other artists. We lent each other practical support, encouragement and constructive criticism and we all engaged in stimulating conversations together and with Steve on a regular basis.
The net result is a very special place and a unique experience. The proof of the pudding is the very high caliber work on display in the sculpture park. This Center is in its first few years, I will look forward to staying involved in the future and watching it grow over the coming years.”
– Philip Vaughan
- Resident: September 15 through October 30 2018
- Artist’s Website: www.philipvaughan.net