Medium: Oak Tree & Mirrors
Work Type: Sculpture (27 multi-layered mirror surfaces)
After the Celestial Axe is a sculpture with 27 mirrored surfaces that reveals a magical, multi-planar universe. As you walk through the forest, you encounter the sculpture shining mysteriously and brightly through the trees. The sculpture is comprised of a moss-covered fallen oak tree sliced up by a Celestial Axe and covered in layered frothy mirror fragments, shaped and arranged with a high degree of optical awareness and purpose. The artwork shows the aftermath of an event of incomprehensible proportions – an Axe that fell mysteriously from the skies, leaving a sparkling residue of starry formations. When seen from afar, these reflective arrangements sparkle in the sun; but when examined more closely, they reflect, refract, expand and transform the environment and the viewer. How or why the Celestial Axe fell is a part of a hidden narrative.
In the past several years Drue has been interested in creating 2D and 3D arrangements of fragmented mirrors. These mirrors sometimes conceal, creating negative space by subtracting, but more importantly they use the artwork as a vehicle to open multiple poetic windows into the environment.
In particular Drue is interested in breaking, distorting and expanding the boundary between viewer and artwork, and artwork and environment. “After the Celestial Axe” is an in-depth exploration of these relationships. Depending on the time of day or season, or weather, the appearance and emotional tone of “After the Celestial Axe” changes completely. The world of the viewer (the environment) and the viewer themselves infiltrate the world of the artwork. The environment is reflected, refracted, fragmented and distorted in a complex and poetic way. The end result integrates the permanent and the fleeting into multiple planes of reflection formed through layering and divergent orientation of the mirror fragments. Like in a cubist artwork, you see multiple planes and your mind can alternately focus on each of them, or combine several of them, so that objects become both visually clarified and distorted.
After the Celestial Axe is a like a living organism, constantly changing each time you encounter it, living with and feeding off of the energy of the environment and people around it. The reflections in the mirrors are constantly changing depending on your viewpoint and depending on the season, time of year, time of day, and how the surrounding forest changes. The work transforms the relationship between viewer and environment, creating a dynamic feedback.
One of the aesthetic principles built into the artwork is that of fragmentation—due to the use of shattered mirror pieces, the reflections are fragmented and even pointillistic. This reflects the fragmented, sampling aesthetic of modern life, but more deeply it is related to the fragmentary, iterative and temporal nature of the neural cognitive process—a key theme in Drue’s artwork. In other words, this fragmentary aesthetic is related to the processes of both discovery and self-discovery as two journeys facilitated by memory.