vapor line

Lenox, MA



Steel rectangular tubing

Steel plate





(Scroll down for image gallery)

In this sculpture, a continuous line of steel winds through space. At each joint the rectangular steel tubing intersects at a unique, complex angle. Each joint is a compound miter, which requires a complex and accurate cut in two angled directions simultaneously. The pieces that directly attach to the flat base are all perpendicular, parallel, or in straight alignments with each other. As the pieces expand upward into space, they freely angle outward, each in its own independent direction. The center-most piece that’s up in the air is also in perfect straight alignment with the longitudinal pieces that are down at the base. In two locations the vertical members narrowly avoid a collision, with a very small space between them. Achieving these compositional effects required designing Vapor Line with a parametric computer model, to carefully plan the path that the steel traces through space and to generate the precise angular cutting dimensions.

The line is painted light blue, to mimic the color of air. When viewed against the sky, it melts into the background and dematerializes. The automotive paint on its surfaces is polished to a high gloss, which adds to that effect. When viewed against a wooded background, that reflectivity brings a trace of the sky down into this scene. While the piece is highly angular and geometric, maybe almost aggressively, its color and its finish contradict and soften that reading. As you move around the sculpture, especially back a slight distance, you might notice where some of these vertical pieces briefly appear to become parallel to each other, even though they are not. That effect is most pronounced when photographing the work.

Fabrication of the piece was aided through CNC-cut clamping blocks, to accurately position each member in the correct axial rotation. The CNC router was also used to fabricate a clamping fixture to accurately position the base members during welding.

Currently on exhibit at SculptureNow at The Mount (home and gardens of Edith Wharton) in Lenox, MA through October 2022. This piece is available for purchase.