Today’s Work on Monday delves into Joe Fig’s unique, miniature recreations of artists’ studios. The artist has made miniature studios of many East End artists, both alive and dead, and his mind-blowing sculpture of Ross Bleckner’s workspace in Sagaponack is one of the best among them.
Work on Monday is a weekly look at one piece of art related to the East End, usually by a Hamptons or North Fork artist, living or dead, created in any kind of media. Join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments below and email suggestions for a future Work on Monday here.
Ross Bleckner 2007
Joe Fig (born 1968, Seaford)
23 x 60 x 40 inches, 2007
In “Ross Bleckner 2007,” Fig captures the artist at work in his studio, and, like all of his studio sculptures, no detail is ignored. The piece is made much like a dollhouse with both interior and exterior perfectly reproduced at a significantly smaller scale. Fig has done such an exacting job that photographs of the work can easily be mistaken for pictures of Bleckner’s actual studio.
The artist’s tools are laid out on long folding tables around the room, paintings lean against the walls and the couch is draped with fabric. Even the walls and floor bear scuffs and marks that hint at Bleckner’s work habits.
It could be argued that Fig’s subject is the studio space itself, rather than the actual artist who is sculpted as a little figure and added to the room. But it also seems clear the studio in many ways is how he portrays the artist. In “Ross Bleckner 2007,” the space around the figure defines the man and artist much more than the physical representation of him.
The places where we live and work—even our possessions—can often define us much more than our faces and bodies.
Here, Bleckner keeps an orderly and organized space, it appears he does not leave piles of work lying around and he has little in the way of visual inspiration, knickknacks or curious. This tells quite a different story than, say, Jackson Pollock’s studio, which feels messy and chaotic by comparison (Fig has made several sculptures of Pollock’s Springs studio). The Bleckner figure is also placed in the far corner of the room, revealing that he probably enjoys painting in the sunlight that pours in through large windows behind him.
Artists’ studios have long been windows into the men and women who work within them, so it’s no surprise that artists, collectors and appreciators of art enjoy visiting them so much. Each one is as unique as the work that comes out of them, and Fig has tapped into this perfectly.
He at once presents his reverence for the sanctum sanctorum of his peers and idols, an infectious sense of childlike fascination and wonder, and a skill few could even dream of having.
“Ross Bleckner 2007” (Exterior):