Presented by: Art Toronto and Cristin Tierney Gallery
Location: ART Bistro by Parts & Labour (P04)
Excerpt from "The Slow Boom" by Julie Kreinik
Pinwheeling across the walls, Richard Galpin's crawlers look like they were made from a giant bin of Tinkertoys. Brightly coloured and precisely arranged, these interlocking steel beams are the artist's recent investigations of cities colonized by machinery. They manifest perpetually assembled scaffolds, emerging architectural structures, and the massive steel "Crawler" cranes that rise above active construction sites.
Arranged to evoke the dynamics of a city under construction, Galpin's crawlers are assembled from lengths of pre-fabricated, mass-produced steel drywall channel. Galpin cut and coated these steel segments with paint that he selected from the RAL System, a standard industrial colour chart used in Europe for architecture, construction, and road safety painting projects. To represent the cranes in each of the crawlers, Galpin painted long sections of steel beams from end to end in an array of hues commonly seen across the London skyline. To depict the scaffolding tubes, Galpin applied varied hues of paint to the ends of the short lengths of steel beams in overlapping and fading sections. In doing so, the artist references London's recent building boom, which has resulted in a scarcity of scaffolding. Workers from different firms install, dismantle, and reinstall their equipment at a rapid pace to keep up with demand. To signify the assembly of scaffolding and to represent this swift process of physical and economic exchange, Galpin gives the short segments a mottled effect, eliciting the sensation of a scaffold in motion at different points in time.
The crawlers can be configured in a number of possible variations, just like the interchangeable parts from which they are made. By isolating the basic materials of the construction industry and employing them as an abstracted aesthetic vocabulary, Galpin directs the viewers' attention to broader, underlying ideas of urban growth, the dynamics of human labour and mechanical movement, and the seemingly endless cycles of building and demolishing.