In 2012, Robert Strati started hallucinating. Every ten minutes or so he started being overcome by vertigo and he began to see things in this hallucinatory state of his. Like a clock, every ten minutes Robert continued seeing these things that emanated from his core. At the time his wife was pregnant and very close to delivering, and he had a show that was very soon.
I personally think it was stress induced, but what do I know? Can’t personally think of a more stressful experience, to have a baby inbound as well as a job deadline like an art show.
But this style of art brings up one of my favorite styles that are infrequently discussed in the art community… which is that of the architectural design or architecturally inspired painting. Like this mechanical design drawing for a press of some sort created in the late 1800’s. Such clean lines and intricate details.
Or maybe a better example of what I am talking about would be this cross section of an architectural drawing of a bridge support. This is the design schematic for one of the towers of the East River Bridge. Which is glorious to look at. The order of it. The annotation. The reference lines and dimensions. Fantastic. All of it.
I actually adored drafting so much as a kid in high school that I completely changed the way I write to match the drafting style and technique. All upper case. Monotone. Even keel. Glorious.
Which brings me to Strati. Take the clean lines of schematics and add an element of the surreal and you have Strati’s look. Many of his schematics?, designs?, works?, remind me of cathedrals, which adds even another layer to the works for me. Automated cathedrals. Automathedrals? Hahah. But the design schematics of Strati are really quite intriguing. How about we let his gallery speak for him:
“Motivated by interests in the interactions of art, architectural theory, music and science, Robert Strati’s work draws from musical notations, engineering schematics, architectural plans, alphabets, nodal networks and maps. Strati’s archival ink-jet prints and sculptures in wire, balloons and packing tape are formalist explorations of two and three-dimensional space that seek to expose subtle, sometimes unseen aspects of our lived experience.
“Looking like a strange, complex musical staff or a mad scientist’s secret plan, his prints, composed on the computer, are using the formal interplay of the point, line and plane to explore visualizations of the ethereal. Beginning at either end, top or bottom, left or right, subtle lines, dots and dashes of various weight and quality curve, twist and contort, building to a crescendo and then taper back into the whiteness of the paper. With close contemplation the faint shapes become forms that move forward and back exposing a depth of field not seen at a distance. The simplicity of each mark stands in contrast to the depth of possibility in the implied space suggested by Strati’s arrangement of the composition of these humble elements.”