Plaster Collapse

Full Dimensions vary on installation
Plaster, Glass (Marbles)


The full array of Entropy

Plaster bricks all cast from the same batch as it began to harden. As an array they record the journey of the material over time. The form remained consistent while plaster slowly, and later quickly began to seize. This piece can be seen as a reaction to materials as well as a study of them. The history of the speed of production vs the speed at which the material hardened brings to mind the decay of a system over time. A system breaks down due to loss of energy in the workings of the system as well as losing energy through excess. Thermodynamics defines this as the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work. It is known as entropy which is also where this piece gets its title.

Through the manipulation of materials degradation manifests itself in a static representation. This is set off by an ever-present uncorrupted element.


A selection of plaster bricks

A rough gang of miscreants

I had a bunch of plastic forms, all identical. They had a folding lid that compression locked itself in place when closed. I set up an assembly line, mixed up a modest batch of plaster with some really hot water and began pouring and closing the forms. Hot water helps plaster seize faster. As the plaster began to seize, those forms toward the end of the line bulged or buckled because of the plaster’s increasing firmness.


This work happen in the brief time after college, but before the aspect of binary as pattern occurred to me. It has no repeating decoration to decode… Or does it?



As perhaps mentioned somewhere else, I do not view myself as a pack rat. However, I collect odd things. In some other entry I mentioned I worked at an art supply store at one point. We carried Bob Ross paints, and being a higher end brand the paint tubes shipped in individual clear plastic boxes. These weren’t special, a vacuformed rounded block with a couple of triangular divots. When shipped, we took each tube out of these and throw them out. Waste conscious me didn’t like this, and was fascinated by the simple form. So I kept… a lot. It was awhile before I decided what to do with the about 50+ I gathered.


I love plaster, concrete, hydrocal, or pretty much any mixable, hardening substrate. Plaster was a good fit for this piece because has that white ‘purity’ when kept clean and sealed. This allowed the various air bubbles and such to create the metaphor for degradation. Additionally, mixing water and plaster triggers it’s chemical reaction. As the plaster hardens it heats up, which I thought was also apt to the definition of entropy.


Beginning and Ending

While the best cast and worst cast are obvious, It is the in-between points that a fascinating grey area exists. I know the piece well enough that on install I can line them up accurately form beginning to end. I should really number them, though. Still, I like the in-betweens not being necessarily accurate. This also lends itself to the title as entropy can oft be interpreted as randomness or disorder.


While the representation of a path from order to disorder is obvious, I saw an opportunity to represent a consistent sense of order. The marbles do this. Filling the top triangular divot, each glass sphere exists as a contrast or similarity to what is going on in the form that holds them. The marble represents many things in fact: consistency over time, stability over time, etc. A more fascinating interpretation (to me) sees the marble as the corrupting element to the system of the bricks. I can create a narrative describing how the marbles perfect stability erodes the bricks’ nature through sheer persistence.

the best of Entropy

The best of Entropy

The ugly one

The very worst of Entropy


I only thought to post this work because I came across it in storage. I present these two extra photos because I think Fragile Entropy is an interesting concept. Also, the artsy alley shot.

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