Give or Take is comprised of a combination of new and older pieces, from separate bodies of work that I find to be not only conceptually compatible, but also symbiotic when presented together. I pride myself on employing a tactic, or a style on my work, but not necessarily a preference toward form or medium.  

My practice explores concepts of language, expectation, and systems of standardization by altering conventional uses of scientific, industrial, and commercial resources and information. Using materials such as wood glue, rulers, spirit levels, and other utilitarian materials, I alter the object or apply the substance in simple, subtle ways in order to destabilize the structural or informational systems of their utility.

I aim to challenge the origins and applications of standardizations and how they are perceived and applied to life. Whatever the expected use of something is may not be the only use. I want to see a renaissance painting used as a drop cloth and a bulldozer used as a paperweight. I aim to play with the notion of ‘play' and to exploit mechanical tolerances. Two definitions of play end up on opposite sides. Fun activities and inaccuracy. There is granted tolerance, or “wiggle-room” within most systems of measurement, even on an imperceivably micro level, and within those gaps is a fragment of wisdom for a pragmatic life: nothing is exactly as it seems, nor is anything unmoving; There is always more to be excavated and understood.

 Precision is usually thought of in terms of mathematical, scientific, or architectural terms, but in relation to its philosophical relative, certainty, I question the role, desire for, and necessity of it.

The possibility of absolute certainty is impractical and by most accounts, impossible. Along with certainty, concepts such as purpose and control are equally fraught. These descriptors - these states - precision and certainty, and the idea of being in control - these are all implied to mean being in an absolute position or status – one end of a spectrum. But what defines how that spectrum operates? What are its limits? To be an absolute is to be one-sided. Unbalanced. Perfection on an end of a spectrum. Ultimately, perfection is not necessary, and even more to the point, perfection is impossible. This is not desirable; it is not realistic and it is not compatible with being a human being.  

So what does this have to do with art? The pieces on display? My tactic is to take an idea, a history, a system, or an object, and expand it. Dissect it. In this case, by looking at systems of measurement as a tool of science to help understand and quantify the world, my articulations of these tools and forms are less bastardizations, but rather reconfigurations. It’s all still there but just in different forms. How many ways can a ruler be divided? Once the straight line is broken, where do the possibilities end? A length is infinitely divisible. Even an atom can be split. 
In the same way I’m rethinking how we view our world in a quantitative perspective, I’m also considering the concept of connection, and proximity in similar ways, demonstrated through the act of connecting objects with glue. In my glue-based work, I break down ‘connection’ into the most fundamental action-gluing two (or more) things together. Glue isn’t meant to be seen, it is only meant to do a job. My interventions bring the glue into the forefront. No longer is it a passive agent doing its job. The glue is present. It is bold. Sometimes taking up more space than the wood, the adhesive in some cases becomes the main structural component of the work, and in doing so brings into question where the adhesive action begins and ends. Proximity becomes more important. Things don’t need to be right next to each other to be connected.

If there is one quality to be present in my work, it should be transparency; a material honesty. Even if that honesty hides behind a deception or a material confusion, I have no desire in exaggerating what is presented. Fool’s gold would be labeled as such.  Aside from the occasional necessary hanging hardware, I don’t intentionally hide anything. There is no smoke, no mirrors, no invisible armatures. Within a set of parameters that I enact, I allow for variation and chance. I create systems that are built with eccentricities in mind. I use machine-made measuring tools for the purpose of showing their inaccuracy. I use commercial and industrial goods to show their potential outside the realm of their intended purpose.  I use things that people know in order to show them possibilities that they may not realize otherwise.
Give Or Take
Bonded Llama Gallery
Raleigh, NC

© Hunter L. V. Elliott 2019