Flora McGarrell -- Artist Statement


I am passionate about making enormous inflatable rooms from virtual forms.

There is nothing so exciting as having the dream many people have -- where one discovers a room in one's home that was concealed, or for some reason went unnoticed. Whatever these dreams "mean," my work brings this same feeling of a newly discovered spatial potential. Like making tunnels for cats under the covers, or children making forts out of living room furniture, these spaces allude to the construction of soft, impermanent architectures that act as adult sized reality buffers. I sculpt spacious negatives, in addition to forming the exteriority of the architectural object. I animate [1] the forms with air pressure to enhance their spiritual effect. If something breathes, responds to external forces, yet has a will of its own, in a sense it is alive. Or is it possessed?. By putting viewers inside the form, I force them to consider the space in relationship to their bodies, and to sense that they are inside a living, breathing organism -- a monstrous creation whose beautiful physicality cannot be ignored. This psychological effect is difficult to document, it must be felt in person to be understood.

By using computers to design the forms, material considerations are stripped away. I then must concentrate on the form exclusively. By then bringing the execution of the work back into the material world for fabrication, it has a much more visceral impact than looking at a 3-D model on a screen. The inflatable is the ideal medium for this virtual to actual translation, because like the digital models the inflatable is a self-supporting skin, with no interior structure. My work is the realization of the fantasy that virtual 3-D modeling promises, but rarely delivers.

[1] I must stress the anima part of the word animation from the Latin root meaning the soul, or the inner self of an individual.