Architectural Construction: Early Stages / Unexpected Beauty

Many architects and viewers of architecture focus on the finished products, the finished building or structure, which makes sense, but not fully appreciating the beauty of the work in progress, i.e. the scaffolding, the timber frame construction and for me, in particular, the interior sheetrock installation before its final coat of plaster is applied.

The bones of architecture, i.e. the necessary armature that essentially holds up each and every building is a fascinating amalgam of skeletal parts that crisscross in many directions all stabilized with nuts and bolts and yet stronger attachments to provide stability on all levels. A simple barn or series of barns as are being built as I write this by the Alexander Calder estate just up the country road from my studio is all hand cut beams, wide and thick and fresh in scent from the axe of the wood cutter. All post and lintel, no nails and as elemental as anything the shakers in western Pennsylvania had built in the past several centuries, as pure as a Japanese low ceiling ryokan in Kyoto, Japan.

Piet Mondrian

Sheetrock and scaffolding in my studio build out.

For me, the early beauty of a freshly sheet rocked wall holds great visual and tactile interest. The separate sheets of sheetrock which are wide and flat are nailed or screwed to the attendant studs or beams, then slapped with a layer of mud or spackle the consistency of pudding and scraped and scraped again to lay flat. This is done several times with an addition of paper tape to seal any gaps that may appear. For me this early stage of sheetrock application with its taped and bedded formulations has an unexpected beauty. This underlay is soon lost visually as a final coat of paint is applied. I have done a number of large paintings, that utilize or loosely reference this sheetrock component for its intrinsic and honest beauty. The beauty of it all is that this stage of construction is not meant to be seen, and yet a Komarin painting reveals this moment in time. A very brief one, now not lost but held in time forever on the fresh canvas for all to see.


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