Three-dimensional works of art have a unique characteristic that is different from other art forms. Its tactile quality is its distinct feature that allows viewers to touch the sculptures, crafts, and architectures which are all kinds of three-dimensional art. More so, these type of art pieces are not just painted on a canvass, they are molded, carved and sculpted to create an object with depth, width and height. The interpretations for three-dimensional artworks can vary depending on the viewer’s perception and the function of these artworks which can either be functional objects or just merely aesthetic objects.
In the case of Drip, Drop Plop by Fred Wilson(page 346 of “A World of Art” by Sayre), this piece of three-dimensional art is categorized under sculpture wherein the creation process immensely affect the finished product. In the contemporary period, Drip, Drop Plop is considered as an installation art which is also a form of sculpture. This sculpture is made out of glass with measurements of 8×5 feet.
Drip, Drop Plop utilized the molding process to shape a glass into sperm-shaped black drops and some were even accented with cartoony human eyes that suggested the influence of Wilson’s childhood experiences.
Meanwhile, the “glass drip forms suggested ‘black tears’ and liquid black flesh” while the addition of the eyes emphasized that these were not mere black objects but they serve as “a metaphor for human degradation and stereotype” (Erickson, 2005, “Respeaking Othello in Fred Wilson’s speak of me as I am”). Wilson is known for his interest in the “personal and introspective manner of exploration of racial and ethnic marginalization in a more” which dictated the purpose and overall theme of Drip, Drop Plop.
He used the “opacity of black glass combined with its fluid sensibility” to show his experiences as well as the history and experiences of the Black community (Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 2007, “Fred Wilson: Black Like Me”). More so, the color black symbolized the African American race while the tear drop-shaped glasses represented the link between the sentiments of Wilson and worldly events (Spalding, 2007, “Re: Making History”).
Another artist who have made use of sculpture as installation art to express his artistry and ingenuity is Marin Puryear. In his work entitled Ladder for Booker T. Washington (page 358 of “A World of Art” by Sayre), the central material used was wood to form a 36-foot tall ladder using the additive process of construction. An ash tree was divided into two to make up the side rails and the maple rungs were used to connect the rails creating a zigzag pattern suspended in the air (Wilson, 2007, “Ladder for Booker T. Washington”).
According to Puryear, it was “about using the sapling, using the tree” generate an object with an “artificial perspective, a forced perspective, an exaggerated perspective that made it appear to recede into space faster than in fact it does.” Puryear wanted his audience to see and feel that the ladder’s length is infinite to “create a confusion as to whether this is the artist’s manipulation of reality or whether this is in fact what is really going on in real time” (Art 21 Inc, 2007, “Abstraction & “Ladder for Booker T. Washington”).
The relationship of upward motion of the ladder and the background of Booker T. Washington was recognized by Puryear as “the kind of gradual, illusory notion of upward progress that Washington encouraged blacks to adopt in the nineteenth century against an overwhelming set of obstacles to our advancement” Wilson, 2007, “Ladder for Booker T. Washington”). More so, the Ladder for Booker T. Washington represents that the journey to success can take a lot of time probably more for those of Black descent compared to those members of the majority such as the Whites.
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. (2007). Fred Wilson: Black Like Me. Retrieved July 20, 2008, from http://www.aldrichart.org/exhibitions/past/wilson.php
Art 21 Inc. (2007). Abstraction & “Ladder for Booker T. Washington. Retrieved July 20, 2008, from
Erickson, P. (2005, June 22). Respeaking Othello in Fred Wilson’s speak of me as I am. Retrieved July 20, 2008, from http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/puryear/clip2.html http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0199-4653164_ITM
Spalding, D. (2007). Re: Making History. Retrieved July 20, 2008, from http://www.artpapers.org/feature_articles/feature2_2003_0102.htm
Wilson, B.E. ( 2007, October 25). Ladder for Booker T. Washington. Retrieved July 20, 2008, from http://www.chronogram.com/issue/2007/11/On+the+Cover/Ladder-for-Booker-T Washington