Lance Dehné, NY Arts Magazine, April 2003
Yes, I did have an "Erector Set" when I was a
kid. I also participated in the games "Mousetrap," "Operation,"
"Chutes and Ladders," even built a few "Mr.
Potato Heads" and many, many model airplanes. I still
like to watch gadgets; where the steel ball rolls down
drops onto a springboard that launches a projectile which
hits a lever that releases a wheel and spirals down a rack,
hitting a trapdoor that activates a lift, pops open a flap,
and releases a colorful gumball. The steel ball then makes
its way back to the top, replenishing the potential energy
needed to harvest the next delight. It is this kind of
I would like to relate to everyday creativity: the action,
the colors, the journey, and the rewards. I like to build
things as much as I like to paint and draw things. In fact
I like to build things that I paint and draw—i.e.,
design / build.
In a series of works now underway, these gadgets represent
day to day activities. When complete, the series can be looked
at as a kind of "what makes the world go 'round'"
story. The ball keeps rolling on. Beyond this series, some
features will remain prevalent in works to come. Calmly dynamic
features such as slots, grooves, stops, weights, pulleys,
wheels and pegs, are meant to convey motion, either past,
present, or future. Not with the photographic "blur"
effect or the repeated "tracers" of Duchamp, but
instead, just the idea that they exist, free to slide, fall,
rotate or otherwise "move" until stopped.
I avoid gears, that is just too mechanical, too serious,
too many moving parts that might fail. Wheels are perfectly
simple and beautifully round. Round is fun. Painters use round
all the time—round ladies with round faces dancing 'round
with "roundly" curved musical instruments. Round
with color is dessert. Everyone reacts to a shiny, round,
red rubber ball. It would be safe to say that given a variety
of objects in a room, most people (not just children), would
be lured toward the red ball and be compelled to pick it up and
play with it. That's what I look to do in some of my paintings, put
the "red ball" there and hope the viewer wants