How do artists make the invisible visible? What hidden elements persist in their work? Is it the artist’s role to reveal them, or not? In this episode, artists share some of the secrets that are intrinsic to their work.
Elliott Hundley draws inspiration from many sources, including Greek tragedy, classical mythology, Japanese woodblock prints, and his own family history. His intricately collaged paintings, teeming with humble materials and ephemera, are like palimpsests that simultaneously reveal and hide meaning. At his Los Angeles home and studio, Hundley works with a team of assistants to create a new series of paintings and sculptures based on the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus. Arlene Shechet is curious about the obscured origins of industrial objects, folding clues about production processes into her handcrafted ceramic sculptures. With their hollow interiors often hidden from view, Shechet’s sturdy clay vessels disguise their true nature through dazzling surface effects and the illusion of solidity. For her exhibition Meissen Recast at the RISD Museum in Providence, Shechet juxtaposes her reproductions of original Meissen factory molds made during a residency at the Meissen Manufactory in Germany next to the original Meissen porcelain dating back to the 18th century, revealing the usually hidden industrial roots of those objects. Trevor Paglen makes the invisible visible, documenting evidence of the American surveillance state of the 21st century. Concerned with the politics of perception, Paglen investigates the development of machines that see and the historical relationship between photography and military technology.