Column – Vicksburg, MS
70 x 9 5/8 x 9 5/8 inches (177.8 x 24.4 x 24.4 cm)
Church steeples, columns, and obelisks have always been used as markers of power and prestige. In small towns with low-built environments these vertical (yes, phallic) interruptions of the landscape tend to take on increased significance. In these new column pieces, I am trying to re-present the power of these objects by decontextualizing their iconic stature and imposing the lived and decaying surfaces onto them.
The curator Lia Newman states, “distance, both in regard to time and physical location, plays an important role in Frank Poor’s creative process. He allows himself space from the site and the images before embarking on new work. Such distance often alters one’s understanding of reality … It is through the juxtaposition – and at times the dislocation – of image and form that Poor initiates a dialogue about memory; he notes that ‘memory exists somewhere between artifact and inventory.’ It is in this liminal space where artists such as Poor can create works that, though deeply personal and specific, become meaningful for a wider audience.”
For Poor’s newest body of work, a series of “columns,” he has started with photographs of columns he has viewed on numerous trips home to Georgia and some surrounding areas. He has taken those photos, built/turned/carved/assembled ‘columns’ based on the images in his photos and then selectively/incompletely applied enlarged versions of the photos to the sculptures/columns. Each column is both visible as a sculpture, a column (either over or under-sized)and as a support (no longer for architecture but) for imagery. The original place is pointed towards in the photos and yet the incomplete application of the photos to the sculptures point towards the distance between the original location and the current display. As always, Poor both questions and respects both situations.
In these pieces, the machined precision of the fabricated forms coexists with the messy over enlarged images taken from the actual site. The sculptures are meant to embody the internal contradiction of the idea of things and the things themselves.
Poor lives and works in Rhode Island. He has taught since he earned his MFA from RISD in 1992. Recent solo exhibitions of his works have been at the Grimshaw – Gudewicz Art Gallery, Bristol Community College, Bristol, RI, 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Columbia, SC, Van Every Smith Galleries, Davidson College, Davidson, NC, Artspace, Raleigh, NC, Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI, Welch Galleries, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT, Bryan Art Gallery, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC, Hamilton Gallery, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Atlanta, GA and the CNN Center Gallery, Atlanta, GA. He won merit fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts in 2013 and 2016.