ROAD TRIP- original proposal (Jan 2008)

In 2004 Sandy Smith and Alex Gross met the first time in a hotel lounge in Chicago enjoying the benefits of the Mai-Thai happy hour. A year later they met again in Glasgow as art students at the Glasgow School of Art. Since 2006 they are working as free artists based in Glasgow.

The concept of the road trip came out of a similar interest in a direct site-specific sculptural gesture and a shared interest in an examination of utopian ideals and aims within modernist sculpture, architecture and design.

The trip promises a perfect chance to develop new work and experiment within those parameters. The idea is to make work while traveling through the west of North America, taking on the mantle of pioneer and seeking a directness of making through constant movement. The first encounter with new sites will force us to react spontaneously to what we see, with an innocence bordering on deliberate naivety.

North America as ‘the Promised Land” with its vast empty landscape seems to be the obvious choice for this adventure. The sublime monumentality of the landscape and sites pairs with the grandiose nature of the optimistic ideology associated with ‘America’. Our momentary DADA like sculptural gestures made in these sites would emphasize the alien status of the human, and more specifically the artists, in relation to such ideas and landscapes. The work made would revolve around an intrusion or injection of humanity into the landscape, either through a direct intervention by the artists or by bringing materials synonymous with ‘Art’ into relation with the site. Those interventions will undergo another transition when shown to the public. The combination of making work in the natural environment while punctuating the journey with exhibitions at galleries in cities on-route would bring about a double process of re-contextualisation, forcing the artwork back to within the (equally alien) ‘white cube’ space. This process would also link the whole exploration nature of the trip back to the stereotypical metaphor of the Artist as journeyman, an experiencer of life.

The trip will be based from a residency in Utah, from which we will travel around the western states. Work will be shown in Seattle, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.