Tell me about the brick sculpture, ‘Dorset Knob’.
The bricks come from Michelmersh which is a little town in Dorset. The quarry is out the back of the shop and they dig it out themselves. The colour and softness is all down to the clay deposits in that area. There’s some really nice pinks and purples coming out of this brick.
This area is very near to where you were born?
Yes. And the whole village is made from these red bricks. Dorset Knob is the name of the local pub at the end of the road I grew up on.
What about the Calvin cartoon character?
I didn’t know anything about him.
Because you know in the cartoon strip he’s always making these snow sculptures… Do you know him now? Have you looked him up?
No. No I haven’t looked him up. I did. I have looked him up. And always the images of him look nothing like this one as well. He looks quite devilish in this one but in all the others he’s a little bit more like Garfield or something. He’s kind of this slightly Garfield-ey kind of dumb car thing.
Like a stick on toy for a car.
Because you mentioned before the sculpture would be of you weeing.
It was going to be me and then it was going to be a person. So then it was going to be Frank Sinatra weeing. And then I decided, ‘mm, no.’ When it got figurative I thought there’s something about the figuration with the brick which doesn’t work. Honestly, it would look awful.
So where did the idea come from?
From seeing cheesy 3D brick around that is usually at the entrances of light industrial spaces and these sort of ‘out of town shopping’ areas.
Where’s the first one you saw?
There’s one in Woolwich. Just some rope. 3D brick rope.
What were you doing down in Woolwich?
Buying toilet roll.
Ok, so you saw the rope there…
So I saw the rope, and I was thinking of the wall and how it could work. I wanted simple high panels, I wanted the seaming to happen. Like Roman panels. A panel is more elegant, like panelling. I didn’t want it to be an actual brick wall, just to feel like one but to be closer to a painting.
Where did you get the idea of the pee and the pee becoming the sculpture?
I just thought, the thing you got to do is: people just pee on walls. You know, there’s this constant weeing on a wall. And it looks really nice. I did it one evening, I weed on a wall, and then you stand on the side and you wee and you literally nearly make exactly the same kind of pattern.
Tell me about ‘Miami Poo Pipe’, about the chameleon-like paint that changes colour with temperature.
The form of the sculpture is really organic. This paint only just arrived in the country but I’d been seeing it out in California for a while, they use it in cars out there so when they’re in the sun they change colour. It’s very complicated paint to make. It changes at about 30 degrees Celsius. The glass was blown especially and it holds distilled water which has nothing in it, there’s nothing inside it, nothing can grow. There’s the opticalness you get, so you’re never quite sure what this thing is, an eye or…
The resin in ‘Tom’s Music’ has this effect also.
Yes, I like how the rest of the space and the other works look when you walk around that sculpture and view everything through the resin and the reflections of that piece and its gaps.
And the title?
Tom is a guy who introduced me to all the best music in the world. Years ago when I was 15, 16.
What about the title ‘Key Largo’? I didn’t know, but I found out it was a place in Miami.
It’s a place in Miami, yes. But I like it because it’s always mentioned in some quite nice songs I like. It sings about the ending, you ending up in Key Largo.
Gary Webb was born in Dorset, England in 1973. Previous solo shows include: Bortolami Gallery, New York (2009); Atelier Hermes, Seoul (2008); Parra & Romero, Mardid (2008); Kunsthaus Glarus (2005); Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva (2005); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2004). Selected group shows include: ‘Summer Exhibition’, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2010); ‘EAT ME-DRINK ME’, The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas, Texas (2009); ‘Kaleidoscopic Revolver’, Total Museum, Seoul (2009); ‘Pour de Vrai’, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nancy, France (2005); ‘The British Art Show 6’, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2005); ‘It’s All an Illusion’, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich (2004); ‘Early One Morning’, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2002).
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