Thursday, September 18, 2014

Andy Tirado's months-long solo show at FAC finishes with monumental sculpture

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 3:58 PM

click to enlarge Tirado with "Open Hand." - EDIE ADELSTEIN
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Tirado with "Open Hand."
For months, local artist Andy Tirado has been working through his solo show at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center to finish the final sculpture. The concept behind Open was to reveal the artist's process, and Tirado spent months working inside the FAC gallery and in his studio at Colorado College to complete the final work.

At last, the piece is now finished.

"Open Hand" is kinetic, as Tirado had said during interviews earlier this summer. The hand, made from a metal skeleton and steel strapping, slowly moves from a fist to an open palm over the course of a day. Stick around and you can watch it open ever so slowly. A motor and a program controls the movement, but the mechanism is just like our own bodies. Tendons — here, cables — connect the forearm muscles to the fingers, and expand or contract to bend them.
  • Edie Adelstein
The strapping medium is compelling in its gestural quality, something that drew Tirado to it. It's minimal in the hand, then layers more heavily up into the forearm. It conceals the workings of the motor, as well as the bulbs of multiple blue and green lights, which illuminate the piece in a strangely sacred way. Tirado chose the colors to counterbalance the warm palette in the surrounding 2D works.

(Speaking of, the series of drawings depicting an opening and closing hand on the east gallery wall has now flipped to match the direction of "Open Hand." You can watch a video of the series moving from open to closed here.)

You can see the piece until the end of the show on Sept. 28. After that, Tirado isn't sure what will happen to it next. It's the largest he's ever done (the hand alone is nearly 10 feet from finger tip to wrist; the next closest, "Lacuna," hanging in the Plaza of the Rockies, is about half that.)

"To me, it always felt time- and site-specific," Tirado says, "I'd be happy to retire it."

click to enlarge "Open Hand" in the process of installation. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • "Open Hand" in the process of installation.
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Hanging the work.

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