Study: Falling Knight Furnace/Forest - Study: Wissinger Tomb Furnace/Orchard

Performative kiln/furnace proposals: pencil and pastel on b&w photo collage, 1990

Far left: Metabolism Study (Falling Knight), b&w photo, orange slices, glass, metal, silicone, installed Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA, 1996

Left center: Study: Falling Knight Furnace/Forest, 64 in. x 32 in., pastel on photo collage.

Right center: Study: Wissinger Tomb Furnace/Orchard, 64 in. x 40 in., pastel on photo collage

Far right: Wissinger family tomb, detail, cast concrete, crypts, landscaping, Standsdorf, Germany


Study: Falling Knight Furnace/Forest is a study for a kiln/furnace project based on an image of a falling knight from the resurection panel of the Isenheim Alterpiece by the painter Matthias Grünwald, the background is a forest image. This image was also used in Metabolism Study (Falling Knight), 1995, one of a series of Photo Process Works, relating the chemical and visual tranformation, caused by the insertion of orange slices against the photo's emulsion, of the image to fire and metabolism.

Study: Wissinger Tomb Furnace/Orchard, 1990, is one of a series of conceptual proposals for environmental kiln/furnace art works. This series of proposals extend the landscape and geologic themes investigated in a concurrent group of actual kiln/furnace projects done in the landscape from 1979 to 1992. Study: Wissinger Tomb Furnace/Orchard, explores issues of spiritual and personal history of the artist, in particular his family history as the great-grandson of German immigrant farmers who settled in the Pacific Northwest.

The image of the Wissinger tomb as an underground furnace comes from an actual crypt of a German family visited by the artist in a graveyard in Stahndsdorf, Germany. This tomb, a complex crystalline structure that emphasizes spiritual values of inorganic form, was designed by Max Taut, a noted German Expressionist architect of the 1920’s. The flues of the furnace extend upward, hypothetically through a fruit orchard, symbolic of the crops grown by the artist’s family in both Europe and North America.