Previewing with Joseph Fucigna
Joseph Fucigna is a multi-media artist whose work is rooted in process, play and the innate qualities of the materials used. Through experimentation, and innovation, he creates sculptures, paintings and drawings that are known for their power to transform materials, ingenuity and odd but compelling subject matter. His one-person show, DRIP-DROP, TICK-TOCK, HERE + NOW, was originally scheduled to open at the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, Connecticut in September 2018. Due to water damage from a fire above the space, it was rescheduled for September 2020, and postponed a second time due to COVID. At this time the exhibition opens for the third time on October 28th and runs through December 10th, 2021.
What would you like to share about the body of work in your current show?
With a three-year gap between the original 2018 show and the upcoming October 2021 exhibition, the show can be considered a survey of artworks, starting from 2010 to the present, with emphasis on works created since 2019. For over 20 years, my primary materials have been various types of plastic and metal fencing. These materials continue with my interest in using common industrial materials as the foundation for my work. The sculptures in the exhibition show a range of techniques and styles of working I have explored during the last 11 years. The open, shell-like form of the sculpture Brainstorm defies gravity as it floats above the ground. This is contrasted by the dense and impenetrable layers of fencing in Yellow_White_Orange Drip that appears to be dripping down the wall as it gives into the downward pull of gravity. The addition of rubber garden hose to my repertoire of materials lends a more gestural and casual look to the wall hanging sculptures from the newest Hose Series.
Let’s look at your wall hanging sculpture Yellow_Black_White Drip, one of your Drip Series and how you see it in context of your work.
I feel the wall hanging sculpture Yellow_Black_White Drip is a good example from the Drip Series I began in 2016. It displays how I take slabs of plastic and metal fencing and transform them into sculptures that appear soft and fluid, but in reality, are hard, and prickly. The inspiration for this series came from the discovery of watching silicone putty, also known as silly putty, slide down a wall. Through meticulous shaping and layering of sheets of plastic and metal fencing, I was able to transform these non-traditional sculptural materials into three-dimensional forms that create the illusion of something soft and pliable moving down the wall. Just as Roy Lichtenstein’s carefully constructed illustrations of abstract expressionist brush strokes freeze a moment in time, Yellow_Black_White Drip creates the same illusion of gesture and movement but with a rigid material.
Tell me about your Drapery Series.
In 2018 I turned to drapery as an inspiration for the Drapery Series which explores the sculptural possibilities of translating hanging cloth into an unexpected material. It seems like an obvious extension of the Drip Series, since the soft and rhythmic folds of hanging cloth and the dripping gobs of silicone putty are both dependent upon the pull of gravity to create their unique shapes and forms. With the wall sculpture, Red_White Drape Drip, I hung drapery on the wall and tried to duplicate what I saw as closely as possible, knowing that translating it into plastic and metal would create something surprising and engaging. Adding the drip on the bottom of the sculpture references the previous Drip Series and adds an unexpected twist to the sculpture. I think the long history of drapery in the visual arts is something I can build on in the future
Let’s look at your most recent body of work, the Hose Series.
As with many of my sculptures, a moment of revelation came from an encounter with a common tool of suburbia, the garden hose. The use of the hose allowed me to work through ideas and compositions quicker than my usual slow, and deliberate approaches. The ease of moving the hose around into a composition allowed me to work faster and create more gestural and spontaneous sculptures. With Black Hose #4, the fusing of the plastic and metal fencing with the black hose seems natural and the light, transparent and lyrical look of the hanging form draws the viewer in. References to the figure are not obvious at first but upon closer inspection, the viewer sees forms that suggest a head, torso, genitalia, buttocks, or breast that are all mixed into a suggestive jumble.
DRIP-DROP, TICK-TOCK, HERE + NOW October 28 – December 10, 2021 Housatonic Museum of Art 900 Lafayette Blvd, Bridgeport, CT 06604 Monday through Fridays, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm; Saturday, 9:00 am – 3 pm