Since the 1960s, Nauman has experimented with mediums as diverse as video, holography, and neon. This untitled work is the final piece in a series of fiberglass wall sculptures he made in 1965, while still a graduate student at the University of California, Davis. Nauman constructed a mold out of wood and cardboard, then brushed on a layer of fiberglass resin mixed with pigment and glitter. Removed from the mold and illuminated from within by an incandescent lightbulb, the translucent surface (with some wood and cardboard still adhering) seems to flicker and glow. Nauman has said that he enjoyed the process of making fiberglass works—“not knowing what it’s going to be like when you’re finished. You try it out, and then you see what you’ve got, and then you decide if that’s what you want to do or not.”
Director, Glenn Lowry: This is part of a series of fiberglass and polyester resin sculptures made by Bruce Nauman when he was still in art school. In 2012, he described making this early work that began as a wood and cardboard mold.
Artist, Bruce Nauman: It was a quick and easy way to make volumetric shapes. The resin is brushed into place with color in it, and then the pieces of fiberglass are put in place, and then more resin is brushed on.
The first pieces were much more monochromatic and not transparent or translucent. And as they progressed, I was sort of just trying out all of the different kind of things you could do to it. Because it does have that transparency, which the light helps you see.
Glenn Lowry: Illuminated from within, all the irregularities of the material are made visible: the differences in opacity, the shifting density of color and even the flicker of glitter.
Curator, Leah Dickerman: And it does something that's very unusual in 20th-century sculpture. It gives the work a sense of insides that are made apparent. And thats a kind of bodily notion that a sculpture would have: an inside.