Jesse Seay: Mechanical Tide

Jesse Seay is inspired by everyday objects mass produced from minimal geometry: a tin can, a steel ball bearing, a tiny speaker, things that roll and resonate, and things you can touch, hold and hear. Repetition, variation, and accumulation are all employed in her work and used to create a juxtaposition between the shiny and sleek verses the raw and simple. She creates sculpture from the object in motion: movement dictated by chance interaction, the physics of chaos, and the whims of the viewer.

  • April 25, 2008 – July 20, 2008
  • 2nd Floor Stairwell
Mechanical Tide (detail), 2008, Wood, metal, steel ball bearings, and motor, 8 x 5 feet
Mechanical Tide (detail), 2008, Wood, metal, steel ball bearings, and motor, 8 x 5 feet

"My goal is art as playground."

This statement reveals Seay’s interest in the underlying level of activity and diversion in her art. Mechanical Tide is an 8 by 5 foot piece made of poplar wood mounted on a metal frame, which a small motor underneath rocks slowly back and forth. The surface of the wood has grooves carved into it, and thousands of small steel ball bearings of different sizes roll back and forth along the grooves. At each corner, a large tin can catches the occasional stray ball, which lands with a ka’chunk! that punctuates the ocean sounds created by the balls on wood.

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