S: Triangular and Pyramidal Art of Robert C. Bassler
BC: Pyramidal Art by Robert C. Bassler 2014
FC: The Triangular and Pyramidal Art of Robert C. Bassler | Origins and Transitions
1: Triangular and Pyramidal Art | Selected works of Robert C. Bassler from 1983 - 1996
2: The images presented in this book are intended to provide insight into the evolution of my conceptual process from 1979 -1996. It begins with my Cliffwall photo series, which includes a Norwegian roadside cliff and the barricade of painted wooden bars installed in front of it. The visual juxtaposition of natural and man made elements challenged me to create images that would emphasize an interaction of opposites. My exploration progressed via drawings, paintings, Xerox copy deterioration, carved wood wall reliefs, and transparent carved acrylic panels that evolved into fully dimensional tetrahedral sculptures. Abstractions of the Cliffwall image were initially a major visual element of the pyramidal sculptures. As variations occurred, it was replaced by other etched, and/or painted imagery, such as atmospheric weather patterns and ultimately, moiré interference patterns as manifest in the sculptures Interlinear Pyramid and Increments of Three. The evolution continues with the realization of Infinite Fractal Pyramid, a welded steel sculpture which incorporates the basic concept of fractals through its repetition of the tetrahedral form and it's exponential expansion from zero. The final work, Elemental Oppositions, comprises a multimedia installation in which two painted tetrahedral forms in vertical opposition are suspended directly over a spiral stone surface containing a dark, translucent, central disc representing the presence of a deep water source. | Hanging Cliffwall Panels of carved acrylic sheet
3: Cliffwall Barricade I (L) and White X-White Disc Barricade (R) Northridge studio 1979
4: Cliffwall reliefs and sculptures A few of the two and three dimensional works derived from the Cliffwall-Barricade source photo | Cliffwall-Barricade, Norway 1972 35mm source photo by the artist | Cliffwall Triptych 1979 wood, particle board, paint 72"x72"x3" At the Carter Hawley Hale Offices , Los Angeles CA; now in CSUN Foundation Art Collection
5: Cliffwall, Metamorphosis of an Image A view of the solo exhibition at LAMAG 1981 | Cliffwall Panels 1980 six carved acrylic panels, each panel 79"x72"x30" At the exhibition Translucid Sculpture, 1985; Washington Square in Washington D.C. | Cliffwall Pyramid-Wall 1985 Enamel on Masonite, steel rod, wire 69"x69"x16" Collection of Bank of America
6: Cliffwall Pyramid Corner (L) and Cliffwall Pyramid V (R) Northridge studio 1983 | Two views of Cliffwall Pyramid I maquette 1981 steel, acrylic, wood 8"x13"x11"
7: Cliffwall Pyramid V 1983 carved acrylic, steel, painted hardboard projected shadow image created by direct sunlight 50"x83"x74"
8: Cliffwall Pyramid II - Projection 1982 Steel rod, aluminum, painted board 11"X16"X14" Collection of Robert Sutcliff | Cliffwall Pyramid II 1981 Etched polyester resin casting, steel rod 15"x21"x18"
9: Cliffwall Pyramid III - Prismatic 1982 Aluminum, steel rod, cast polyester resin 11"X16"X14" Collection of Robert Sutcliff | "If there is science to Bassler's work, there is also an equal portion of Yogic philosophy. The same odd, effective combination of transcendentalism and empiricism come through in the new works." "Once this impulse is set in motion, Bassler proceeds like a scientist, dissecting, reorganizing, stripping bare every possible conceptual and formal angle and exploring every possible permutation the subject has to offer." Excerpts from a review by Marlena Donohue, "Robert Bassler, Wenger Gallery, Los Angeles," Sculpture magazine, 1988
10: Terrahedron VI - Atlantic Coast 1987 Acrylic paint, etched acrylic sheet, steel 15x22x19"
11: Terrahedron III-Deserts 1987 Acrylic paint, etched acrylic sheet, steel 15x22x19 | Terrahedron IV - South Pacific Islands 1987 Acrylic paint, etched acrylic sheet, steel 15x22x19
12: Atmospheric Pyramid 1987 Carved acrylic sheet, painted steel 41"x59"x52"
13: Robert Bassler, Recent Sculpture Wenger Gallery, Los Angeles 1988 | "Robert Bassler's tetrahedal sculptures and painted wall reliefs at Wenger Gallery invoke an idealistic image of man as explorer - stretching the limits of ideology and digging ever deeper the furrows of science and art. He approaches his art with the restlessness of an experimentalist who seeks to understand and explain the arrangement of nature's order and disorder, illustrating the phenomena in a form that fuses art and science into a single, ordered whole." Laurie Garris , "The Marriage of Art and Science," Artweek, January 30,1988
14: Stone Pyramid 1986 Stone, steel 16"x21"x19" | Crushed Can Pyramid 1988 Steel, plywood, flattened cans 61"x72"x60" | Wood Columns 1986 Wood, wire 14"x20"x17"
15: Transparent Columns 1986 Acrylic rods 14"x19"x16" Private collection
16: Blue Gorge, Coral Keys 1988 Oil on hardboard 63"x72"x12" | Triangular Paintings 1987-1988
17: Gathered Forces-Hurricane Clouds 1987 Acrylic paint on hardboard 42"x48"x9" Collection of Larry Olney | Fluid Formations-Gulf of California 1987 Acrylic on hardboard 42"x48"x9"
18: Cliffwall Pyramid V 1987 Changing Light-A Survey, 1960-1996 Retrospective exhibition, California State University Northridge, 1997 | Cliffwall Pyramid V 1983 "Changing Light-A Survey, 1960-1996" Retrospective exhibition, California State University Northridge, 1997
19: Atmospheric Pyramid 1987 Etched acrylic sheet, steel - 41"x59"x52"
20: Triunfo Creek Series 1985 Environmental installation of stones, steel, wood Peter Strauss Ranch Sculpture Park, Agoura Hills CA 1985
21: Tripartite Pyramid 1985 Welded steel, wood 12'x'20'x17' Security Pacific Plaza, Los Angeles 1988 | Tripartite Pyramid 1985 Welded steel, 12x'20'x17' Peter Strauss Ranch Sculpture Park, Agoura Hills CA 1985
22: Wood Pyramid - Moiré 1986 (two views at Northridge studio) wood, steel 18"x22"x19"
23: Interlinear Pyramid - Moiré 1986 (two views) painted steel 21x25x12" | "I want people to see the piece and not recognize the physical entity per se. I want them to experience the phenomenon within the piece that is the result of the interaction of the elements.....The eye perceives a flow of motion, but it is physically not there. Things exist around us that we are simply not aware of because we are locked in a narrow bank of perception. I am hoping to extend beyond the physical, beyond the experiential to a spiritual level." * *Excerpt from an interview with Tressa R. Miller, "Urban Sculpture, Architectural Concerns," Exhibition catalog, Security Pacific Gallery at the Plaza, Los Angeles, 1983-1984 | Tripartite Pyramid 1985 welded steel 12x'20'x17' CSUN Art & Design Center, 1989
24: Niner Arc - The Gathering 1989 Painted steel - 18'x15'x9' Kirk O'The Valley, Reseda CA
25: Increments of Three 1983 -1984 Painted steel, Dacron rope 18'x6'x25' "Urban Sculpture, Architectural Concerns," Security Pacific Gallery at the Plaza, Los Angeles, 1983-1984
26: Infinite Fractal Pyramid 1988 Welded steel 30'x28'x32' "Robert Bassler, Large Scale Sculpture," Security Pacific Plaza, Los Angeles CA 1988-1989 | "When you work intuitively as I do, it is not truly a scientific method, although in a way it is quite similar. It is a quest - the desire to learn something without knowing what its application might be. Infinite Fractal Pyramid is a good example of that attitude. It is a totally intuitive construct of tetrahedral forms that led me to discover the basic principle of fractals. That's an evolution out of the Cliffwall sensibility of seeing apparently solid matter with a molecular vision." Excerpt from an interview with Michael C. McMillen, "A Conversation with Robert Bassler," Changing Light catalog, pg. 7
27: Infinite Fractal Pyramid 1988 Security Pacific Plaza, Los Angeles CA
28: Infinite Fractal Pyramid 1989-1990 (detail) Welded steel, 30'x32'x28' Security Pacific Plaza, Los Angeles
29: "Bassler's elaboration on the tenet that fractal objects are "self-similar" is most faithfully expressed in his welded steel piece, Infinite Fractal Pyramid. Zero and infinity are the two poles in nature's fractal system. In this piece, the tetrahedral apex establishes point zero; from there the same form proportionately increases, repeating itself in an infinitely expandable universe. His subjective reduction and expansion of form is evident in this work. The central clustering with outward multiplication not only effectively illustrates the theory that the average density of matter decreases steadily as larger volumes of space are considered, but also implies, in psychological terms, the variable barriers of thought." Laurie Garris, "The Marriage of Art and Science" Artweek, 1/30/88 | The artist at the exhibition site Security Pacific Plaza, Los Angeles 1989 | Exhibition detail
30: "Hot and cold, heaven and hell, sun and planet, creation and destruction: the "fire" hovers over the "clouds." ...The suspended tetrahedron is reflected in the "pond" which in turn penetrates (by allusion) the earth's surface....Constantly mutable forms are contained by the stability (and comprehensibility) of geometry." "The arrangement of the elements - fire over turbulent atmosphere, over stone and calm water - leads to constantly reversing and realigning references, all united by a rational framework, a stand-in for intellectual human presence." Robert Bassler: Changing Light - excerpt from the catalog essay by Sharon K. Emanuelli | Elemental Oppositions 1996 Steel, stones, acrylic sheet, alkyd on hardboard - Retrospective exhibition view
31: Elemental Oppositions 1996 Steel, stones, acrylic sheet, alkyd on hardboard 87"x120"x120" Changing Light-A Survey, 1960-1996 Retrospective exhibition, California State University Northridge, 1997
32: "If we trace out what we behold and experience through the language of logic, we are doing science. If we show it in forms whose interrelationships are not accessible to our conscious thought but are intuitively recognized as meaningful, we are doing art. Common to both is the devotion to something beyond the personal, removed from the arbitrary." Albert Einstein | Increments of Three at Security Pacific Plaza, Los Angeles Welded steel, Dacron rope 18'x6'x25
33: A Selection of Related References Emanuelli, Sharon K. "Robert Bassler, Changing Light," cat. essay, Robert Bassler Changing Light, pp. 14-38, il. McMillen, Michael, "Realms Not Yet Imagined" and "A Conversation with Robert Bassler," cat. foreword and interview, Robert Bassler Changing Light, , pgs 6-11, il. Woodward, Josef, "Art - Multiple Personalities," Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1997, p. 44, il. Johnson Reed, "Art, Honing Science to Art Via Bassler," Daily News, August 29,1997, pg.29, il. Jurey, Mark, "Modular Structures, Visual Thinking," Introduction to Art Processes, Kendal Hunt 1993, pp.112,113,119, il. Donahue, Marlena, Reviews, "California, Robert Bassler Wenger Gallery, Los Angeles," Sculpture magazine, March/April 1988, vol.7 no. 2, il. Garris, Laurie, "The Marriage of Art and Science," Artweek, Jan.30,1988 pp.5-6, il. Bassler, Robert, "Contemporary Sculpture. Downtown L.A.," photo essay, The Contemporary, MoCA ,Winter-Spring 1985, vol.2, no.1, il. Miller, Tressa R., Urban Sculpture, Architectural Concerns, catalog Security Pacific National Bank, Los Angeles, 1983-84, p. 8, il. Brown, Betty, "Sculpture in the City," Artweek, Nov.12, 1983, il. Marter, Joan,"Sculptures and Wall Constructions," The Security Pacific Collection 1970-85, Selected Works, Security Pacific Corp. Los Angeles, pp. 196, 202, il.