Saturday, April 23, 2016

Overturned Kübelwagen on the New Jersey Turnpike

by Drew Martin
Overturned Kübelwagen on the New Jersey Turnpike is sculpture I made this morning that ties together a meltdown I had as a passenger last week on the New Jersey Turnpike after an 11-hour drive up from North Carolina, a recent conversation and contemplation I had about the "Jersey barrier" (I am from Jersey), and the affects of wars - years after they have ended.

I live in a small, crowded house with five people, so when I find myself alone I have a couple options: sleep in peace, write in peace, or go into the magical zone of creating art. So this morning I had a couple such hours and I decided to make a sculpture. I try to make sense of all the toys left in the wake of my growing children, as well as other objects sitting around the house - especially in my basement.

A six-foot-long wooden plank started it off as a good "road" project, which I could incorporate some of the Matchbox cars in our house. I had old house paint for the road and white acrylic paint for the road stripes. I researched the standard: 10-foot white stripes, six inches wide, 30 feet apart.

I thought about 3D-printing the Jersey barrier but that would take a long time and I am cautious of using it too much because of the fumes. So I designed and 3D-printed a negative cross section of a Jersey barrier, which I planned to force clay (which I found in my basement) through and cut into lengths. I pictured it working like a macaroni-making device, but no such luck: the clay just got stuck. So I ended up making a snake of clay and hand-sculpted the Jersey barriers.

One of the toy cars I found was of a WWII Kübelwagen. The front wheels were missing so that inspired me using it as a vehicle in the accident. I had just finished The Civil War Ken Burns documentary and one of the themes is about the continuation of the affects of war long after the final surrender: psychological effects and economic hardships. So the idea of WWII enemies actually causing a modern day traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike is the quirkiness of the piece.