As creatives we typically work with existing materials, with few of us having the facilities and chemical backgrounds to develop our own matter. But in the mid '60s artist De Wain Valentine broke the mold, if you'll pardon the pun, by developing his own resin to cast large-scale pieces.
"Valentine MasKast Resin No. 1300-17" was a high-strength, highly stable polyester that Valentine struck upon after numerous chemical experiments. It allowed him to create large sculptures in a single pour, and he'd use the stuff to eventually create "Gray Column," a free-standing translucent slab that stood 12 feet high. The piece is now on display in L.A.'s Getty Center:
Gray Column was one of the largest sculptures De Wain Vealnetine ever cast with polyester resin--the material with which he worked through the 1960s and 1970s to create his dazzling Circles and Columns. This monumental, free-standing slab, measuring 12 feet high and 8 feet wide, will be displayed to the public for the first time. The exhibition From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine's "Gray Column" tells the story of how this extraordinary piece was made and features preparatory drawings and maquettes, videos documenting the fabrication process, interviews with the artist, and a discussion of the conservation of this sculpture.
For those out of L.A. range, here are a couple of the aforementioned videos:
The exhibition will run through March of next year.