Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104

Steven Rayner

Something and Nothing

In 1989 the Irish pop band An Emotional Fish sang about drilling holes in their heads "to let the sunshine in." It wasn't a literal suggestion of course, but a lyrical metaphor designed to catalyze an emotional state of mind.

In 1973, the American artist Michael Craig-Martin turned an oak tree into a glass of water, ostensibly to prove that lyrical metaphors aren't just about music but about real acts of creative transformation. The result was a glass of water - and a declaration by the artist that the glass of water used to be an oak tree.

In 2012 Steven Rayner went a step further, creating artworks out of thin air. Air is tricky though - not like an oak tree that can simply be imagined. Instead, air is both real and imaginary, physical yet invisible, everywhere and nowhere. Constrained by the objects of the world, air is also the negative space between these objects - spaces that can be sculpted, if approached in an appropriately backwards way. Not a creative transformation of one thing into another but an artistic deconstruction of the objects that impede the possible forms that air could take. In an interesting way, Rayner's work is about liberating the air around us, giving it new shapes and forms, pathways of circulation and new negative spaces of artistic rendering.

In some ways, the objects used to perform this maneuver are of only secondary importance - not a skull full of holes but a new form of air - the air inside our heads given an escape route into the world itself. The sunshine comes in as the air extends outwards - a two way perforated street. This is not simply a sculpting of negative space, but also something more - not simply a lyrical metaphor but a metaphorical lyricism that breaks down of the age old philosophical question of why there is something rather than nothing. This is a sculpture made out of air - something and nothing - a barometric sculpture for an artistically perforated world.