Artists: H - Z: Derrick Velasquez
My work is an attempt to construct a language of structure that questions our physical and psychological interactions with industrially manufactured materials that exist in the spaces (both large and small) we inhabit. Through an investigative process, I project varying forces like gravity or tension on plywood, two by fours, Masonite, marine vinyl, acrylic, hardwoods and the human body in hopes of teasing out their obvious and sometimes less apparent qualities.
In my Untitled series of vinyl wall pieces I meticulously hand cut individual strips of marine vinyl and stack and accumulate them onto precut wooden forms. As a bookbinder the vinyl is a material I used as covers for hand bound soft cover journals. The form and process of the formalized wall pieces came from an every day practice of precutting enclosure straps for the journals and placing them on a screw on the wall. As these began to accumulate, I realized I was denying the intended surface of the vinyl and exposing the innards of the synthetic fabric. This creates a new flat surface that lacks the continuity of a sheet of fabric and becomes a construction of sophisticated and subtle color harmonies by way of hundreds of hand cut and layered strips. As number of the vinyl strips grows, the relationship of the visual structure slowly shifts – the vinyl no longer conforms to the shape of the wood form, but instead rounds out to a gentle curve.
The Untitled (draped body) series is a meditation and realization of my direct connection and interaction with the large sheets of vinyl I strip down in my Untitled wall pieces. In order to cut the sheets of material, I must carry the textile material over my own body to get it to the table and cutting surface. I began think about and attempt to imagine the visual of the vinyl draping over the body even though I could not see what it would look like from the outside. As a photographic series I capture the ephemeral forms and poses with the vinyl thrown over my body. How does one make sense of the impermanent floating and sometimes slumped imagery and the union of body material and vinyl material? In a sense I am reversing the normal relationship of corporeal body on top of the industrial fabric as it would be on the seat of a boat or in a booth in a diner. By taking away its consumer use, and letting it form to my body in various poses, I’m creating an image and space where I am present yet obscured by the weight and layering of the vinyl.
Untitled (draped structure 2) is a piece inspired by images I’ve taken while driving over bridges. By taking the language of structure that exists within a bridge, I’m referencing the mechanical aspects engineering and physics of a form that has a different set of parameters than the human body. By draping the vinyl over this invented structure, I aim for an indirect narrative and association between edifice and drapery. Ideas of gravity, force, tension and repose come to mind as one might observe and think about the relationship between buildings or bridges and the colors placed on them.
Derrick Velasquez received his BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his MFA from the Ohio State University. Velasquez has exhibited his works at the Center for Visual Art, Denver, CO; VAC University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; RedLine, Denver, CO; forthcoming: FOCA Bienniel, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM and Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, CO. He has been awarded by: Vertigo Art Space Artist Residency and RedLine Artist Residency in Denver, CO; Fergus Family Material Award, The Ohio State University. Derrick Velasquez is in the collection of the Metropolitan State University of Denver and in private collections in Denver, CO, Philadelphia, PA, New York, NY, Palo Alto, CA, Miami, FL, and more. He is represented by Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.