Shag Rug Series (After Pollock), 2002

The "Shag Rug" series is constructed from thousands of 2" pieces of chenille stems inserted in foam board. Up close, the works reference shag rugs (circa 1973). However, when seen reflected in a convex mirror, the imagery of Jackson Pollocks "Autumn Rhythm" emerges. The largest work "Shag Rug 165,000" is a life-sized rendering of Pollocks "Autumn Rhythm" constructed from 165,000 units and measuring 8 x 16. Each additional work in the series is incrementally smaller, and thus more abstract due to a decrease in total number of units with the smallest work consisting of 2 chenille stems (1/3" x 2/3").

While considering Pollocks work as a subject matter, I became intrigued with the idea of recreating an abstract expressionist work utilizing the most mundane, non-expressive processes possible. First by deconstructing and recreating the imagery as pixels on the computer, and second by inserting 165,000 lowly chenille stems by hand, one stem at a time, into foam board. I was also intrigued by the fact that Pollock had the intuitive ability to produce high ratios of fractals in his drip paintings, thus recreating the natural world more accurately than the finest landscape painter, which may explain the resonating presence of Pollock's drip paintings. The fact that the drip paintings were created on the floor and that Pollock referred to his them as "arenas" which viewers could enter (which would have made him the first installation artist had he not then hung them on the wall ), combined with my interest in creating whole sculptural objects without cropping solidified my decision to use "Autumn Rhythm" as a subject matter for the series.

-Devorah Sperber, 2002