Closer and Closer Apart
Wood wall reliefs, 2000-2005
View the reliefs

This series of wall reliefs, with one exception, was done over a two year period in 2000 and 2001 . A number of factors informed and influenced their development.

For two years preceding this series, I had concentrated almost exclusively on paper collage (The Mood Enhancer series). These rectangular pieces were primarily involved with painterly concerns, mood and subtle surface color transitions. I wanted these concerns to carry over to the reliefs, combining them with the physicality and dimensionality of wood.

To further emphasize the importance of surface, I mostly kept to the rectangular format of the collages rather than the abrupt and unexpected juxtapositions and angularity of my sculpture. I hoped to incorporate the strongest aspects of both approaches.

Another factor, and this should not be underestimated, was the purchase of a Hitachi compound slide saw. This wonderful tool allowed me to easily cut wooden pieces in any size I needed, and in great quantities. This increased enormously the immediacy and degree of improvisation that I could achieve in the stacking and arranging of the pieces. Because these arrangements formed a more or less flat surface, the assembly of the reliefs was much easier. The arrangement of wooden shapes could be mounted on a single solid backing with screws rather than the enormously labor intensive doweling process used in the three- dimensional sculptures. This ease in assembly also allowed more freedom in the creative aspects of the work.

The naming of this series was especially difficult. I filled pages of notebooks with lists of possibilities. In some frustration I finally signed the pieces and titled them all 4th LA Series. Some months later I came across the phrase "closer and closer apart" in the book by John Bayley, referring to his marriage to Iris Murdock. This phrase struck an immediate chord with me, a parallel to an aspect of a pivotal development in a relationship in my own life at this time. It also describes how the individual pieces of wood in the reliefs related, pressed upon and depended on one another, while still keeping their separate individuality, integrity and unique personality. Closer and Closer Apart seems exactly right for this series of reliefs.

James Zver

Los Angeles
October 2003
Cumberland     Near Sunset    Closer & Closer Apart / Insignia    Nova Via    Semi-Detached    Chamber