Prof Evan Reed's Installation: “Architecture for the Inclement” on view at VAE

Evan Reed: Architecture for the Inclement
Evan Reed: Architecture for the Inclement

October 26 – December 3, 2016
VAE Creative Incubator – The Cube (new window)
First Friday Receptions: November 4 & December 2, 6-10pm
Join us for Evan’s artist talk Saturday, December 3 at 11am


Walking to the subway after a quick and violent early spring thunderstorm, I began to notice among the usual, post-deluge, debris a multitude of discarded umbrellas piled around garbage bins and left near the station entrance. Maybe it’s always this way after a storm but my attention focused in on what seemed an inordinate amount of the things. The scene made an impression on me and with it my scavenger impulse had me gathering up all the cast off umbrellas I could carry. Later I found most were damaged in some way by the strong winds that had accompanied the downpour. Riding in a crowded train I awkwardly juggled the armful of umbrellas. My soggy treasure presented me conspicuously and earned me looks from the other commuters.

That experience informed the creation of Architecture for the Inclement.  I fantasized a structure made through the resourcefulness of one seeking basic protection from the elements. Rummaging the streets to create an eccentric, visionary nest. Several early attempts to create the form by sewing or lashing the umbrellas together proved to be weak or too impractical. Eventually my research for creating portable structures led me to plans for a geodesic dome structure. This construction technique was popularized by American theorist and designer Buckminster Fuller. Early explorations for using the geodesic design came to him during his time teaching at Black Mountain College. He later served as President of Synergetics Inc., a dome building construction firm based in Raleigh.  Fuller was interested in designs that could benefit humanity. The geodesic dome was one solution for achieving a lightweight, strong, and affordable shelter. For my humble and pragmatic purposes the triangular grid-work allowed a flexible way to configure and attach umbrellas. The form is also easy to dismantle and store. The marriage of the umbrella, which is basically a handheld, pop-up shelter, with Fuller’s visionary geodesic structure made sense for the sculptures design but also feeds its meaning and interpretation.