David Haughey accompanied the installation with a breathtakingly beautiful essay extracting deep understanding of human condition from materials and hues while mapping the roots in ancient philosophy. Applied to current EU strategies with migrating people it dips this art near James Turrell’s claim “[My art] is about your seeing, like wordless thought that comes from looking into fire”. Not a whimsical link – Calvin’s use of light and space shares the mind expanding force noted in Turrell’s installations.
To think of a mythic form as a catalyst toward “clarity” and even action is not that new as to be doubted. Mark Rothko explored so called “mythomorphic abstraction” in paintings, so comparison with installation may feel out of order, until the nonverbal thought admits not source but impact. In both Rotho’s and Calvin’s art the impact is unequivocal.
Muriel Spark “Art is an art of daring” comes to my mind while seeing Calvin’s installation, while connecting uncrossable space of the oval of wax that appears black from the entrance and golden from the back wall.
The sculpture favours Brancusi’s preference for absent plinth
The scars on the “gold” are not immediately visible, and as if holding their breath, they appear from some viewing angles. On the far wall is a framed print holding its secrets even tighter, but issuing impact from afar.
Can I be sure that “my meaning” is “its meaning”? No. But I appreciate both its confidence that the blue will not drown in the dark, and my freedom to trespass with my imagination. Calvin made a space for it. With a blithe indiference to my feeling this exhibit is both finished and unfinished. Like any poem. Its tomorrow is negotiable, it is adaptable to change of light and to the viewing by another. Its consolatory dark smooth plane hides a proleptic invocation of a disabled object. And silence.
I hasten to add, that I do not intend to crucify the installation’s emerging power as I move in the space, to any one particular view. The blue top of the wax crucible indulges in being both flat and of immense depth, a hermeneutic snare to avoid certainty. Is something else going to happen? Yes – reflections play poker with angles and light.
Calvin never disappoints, if all you expect is the force of mute poetry without an end.
(The images are not capable to approximate the aesthetic experience of being there)