“Before there is place, there is observation,” reflects Casey Warr. The wisdom had come to the sculptor of steel leviathans on a sweaty yoga mat, inspiring his upcoming exhibition, observe. “I realized that first there is me, then stimuli and then reaction,” he continues, recalling the old existentialist axiom that existence precedes essence. And this essence, or the sum total of his reactions to stimuli, began suddenly to reflect not the grating toil of hurry around him, but rather his soothing surrender to chaos. He closed his eyes and breathed. His place in the milieu was found, and an idea was born.
Renowned sculptor and UNM professor Steve Barry was partly to blame. He introduced Warr to minimalism, an artistic orientation that attempts to expose the true essence of things by stripping them of all unnecessary elements. Such an orientation fit well with Warr’s natural—and frighteningly masterful—affinity for multidimensional geometric conformity. That is, Warr understands the movement and fittings of shapes and angles like Kodak knows color. It’s in these geometric formations—which aren’t simple at all yet nonetheless represent the simple essence of all things—that Warr found the most profound manifestation of his creative drive. “My first project was to build a dodecahedron,” he says. “From there I could see it [geometry]. I just knew where I could push it, pull it, expand it …”
Regarding the matter of observation and place: We activate our consciousness, we observe. In observation we discover our place, the space we occupy, the meaning we attribute to it and the actions we must take to conform or break free. But beneath and above us the same process occurs at infinite levels in either direction, whether on the surface of our skin or out in space.
A voyage on the wayside of that strange continuum, observe. opens on Friday, Nov. 1, at the Small Engine Gallery in Barelas (1413 Fourth Street SW). Reception starts at 6pm and ends whenever. It’s free. Or you can visit by appointment anytime in November. For more information, contact Casey Warr at email@example.com, (512) 797-7859, or visit his website at caseywarr.com