Lehman College Art Gallery



Michael big

Confluence and Swirl. 2011. Hay, twine. 20 x 34 feet x 22 inches

For many years my work has involved the sculptural use of hay. As a grass it is a material that is familiar, accessible and it holds a depth of history and associations. It is seasonally based and regenerative. The intrinsic nature of hay is a part of this work. This work is a populist art valuing artisanship, common and collaborative labor. Although the work is often formally based, by virtue of its material, it inherently and sometimes overtly resonates with social/political and environmental associations and concerns. Overall, my work employs two fundamental processes; weaving hay through a twine warp over a built structure and as in “Confluence and Swirl” binding the hay with twine into units that are combined into a greater whole. They are simple processes that can respond to the potentials of each exhibition or exist as autonomous works. Like the hay itself, much of my work is situational. It grows relative to its locale and the specifics of its site and circumstance. While temporary, they are prone for rebirth and regeneration in new forms. “Confluence and Swirl” has various years' hay bound together. These are consciously maintained restored and recycled from various pieces. They take on differing visual characteristics in the depth of their color hence many seasons of hay are employed in a particular piece.

“Confluence and Swirl” is one of a series of works based on the motion of rushing water. Similarly it bears qualities of a field or nest. It is created in response to the nature of the exhibition space and the greater passage and confluence of the waterways that surround and are within its specific local, the Bronx.


 Michael sma1                  michael sma2

Confluence and Swirl. 2011. Hay, twine. 20 x 34 feet x 22 inches
Installation details