My Artist Heroes series is a collections of collage boxes inspired by key artists who have creatively influenced Thomas Mann over the years.
Artist Hero Series Box with Removeable Brooch -William GIBSON
Gibson is the guy who originated the term cyberpunk. Invented the term Cyberspace in a short story Burning Chrome in 1982. And used it again in the first novel of his Sprawl Trilogy, Neuromancer. But it was Count Zero, the second in the series that truly captured my intensely focused attention. This novel, which has five seemingly disparate themes, one of which is squarely directed to the issue of objects swirling in a universe awaiting their use in some higher purpose.
The story goes like this, Cornell like box constructions are showing up in art galleries around the planet and no one knows where they’re coming from. An investigative journalist tracks down the source location, which turns out to be a space station in orbit around the earth. When she travels to this remote abandoned station she discovers a vast interior space swirling with objects of immense variation. In the center of this object tornado is a robotic device that is snatching objects out of the swirling mass at random but with intention and installing them in boxes of varied dimensions with an obvious aesthetic programming that is channeling Joseph Cornell’s artistic vision. This vision from one of my favorite authors has propelled my thinking about objects ever since.
In preparing to make the work for this exhibition, which I had been contracted for 2 years ago, I consciously began “collecting” to add to an already voluminous collection of stuff. There is in me a little demon, who loves objects, and goads me on a continuos basis to find, acquire and hoard them for an unknown purpose.
So, as I began the the planning for this exhibition and the decision making process of how to utilize this hoard of beach found plastics, sticks and wood, these metal machine parts, those sheets of chart paper and photographs, that ridiculous nest of wire and monofilament, yes and the never to be used again rubber Jewellery design molds, I would scuttle about the environs of the Rose Tattoo, my home and studio and imagine myself as that robotic device, in that abandoned space station, in that vast space with billions of objects swirling around me and with the Cornell box maker programming embedded solidly in my own brain pan cyberspace.
Joan Miro’ said, ￼￼“For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings.