The Colby College Museum of Art has commissioned Peter Soriano to create a major wall drawing for its lobby gallery. Entitled Permanent Maintenance, this new work, which the museum has acquired for its collection, will be installed between September 9 and 23, when the lobby will be open to the public for viewing of the work-in-progress. Composed of acrylic and spray paint applied directly to the wall, this monumental, multipart work will span approximately one hundred linear feet divided into three integrally linked sections.
Soriano has taken inspiration for each section of the piece from specific sites on the Colby College campus, employing these sources to initiate a constellation of associative marks and notations. Evocative of the codes and symbols used by surveyors and suggestive of hypothetical architectural plans, Soriano’s visual translations of his impressions and perceptions captures, as the artist has observed, “the disquieting manner in which…appearances are altered depending on one’s perspective.”
Following the premiere of Permanent Maintenance, the individual sections of the work are designed to be recreated elsewhere. This open, adaptive approach defines Soriano’s creative process. Working from initial drawings and notes, he enacts the wall drawings to scale in his studio, working section by section and producing a set of instructions for each visual element. Structured into these instructions are opportunities for the contributions of others, and the Colby project will include a team of student installers and other participants when the piece is realized on site. While related to the wall drawings of such artists as Sol LeWitt and Mel Bochner, Soriano’s works give form to uniquely fluid and adaptive interrelations between object, site, and studio—as well as future sites—that distinguish his contribution from earlier manifestations of conceptually informed art.
Throughout the development of the project, Soriano generates associated but independent drawings on paper, combining marks, cuts, and folds into intuitive compositions. A selection of these project drawings will be on view in the Sally and Michael Gordon Gallery.
About the Artist
Born in 1959 in Manila, Philippines, Soriano received his B.A. in Art History from Harvard College and studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture before moving to New York City in 1981. Beginning in the 1990s, he made a series of internationally recognized fiberglass sculptures. In 2004, during a residency at the Atelier Calder, Soriano experimented with readymade materials—among them, aluminum pipe, steel cable, and nylon webbing—that became the underpinnings of his first wall installations. As the wall works progressed, he added spray-painted lines and symbols, then eliminated the structural elements altogether to allow the notational vocabulary he had developed to become the sole source of his imagery. In New York, Soriano is represented by the Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., where one of his first wall drawings appeared. He has also realized wall drawings in Busan, South Korea; Brussels; and in Paris, where he is represented by Galerie Jean Fournier.