Jonathan Brilliant, incorporates materials associated with commercial coffee consumption-stir sticks, straws, sleeves, cups, and lids-to execute site-specific responsive installations. Brilliant collects materials from what he considers to be his natural environment: the coffee shop.
Using a labor-intensive craft-based process, Brilliant created the central sculpture of Stick, Stack, Show, his first installation in Virginia , by weaving 70,000 wooden coffee stirrers using only tension and compression. Brilliant completed his first woven stir stick installation in 2006 and in 2009 inaugurated his “Have Sticks Will Travel World Tour.” The tour included a marathon series of site-specific installations constructed over eighteen months in thirteen galleries in three countries on two continents. The traveling materials crate used for the 2009-2010 world tour functions here both as an anchor for the stick sculpture and as a symbolic reference to the development of Brilliant’s current work, which “grew” from his previous installations.
In addition to wooden stir sticks, Stick, Stack, Show includes thousands of coffee cup lids, sleeves, and straws that are arranged stacked, and conjoined to connect points within the installation. Prints including embossings of woven stirrers and collagraphs of cup sleeves serve to record materials of Brilliant’s installation process. The prints on view in this exhibition were created in eight different print shops located at the artist’s previous residencies. During Brilliant’s two-week residency here at the Visual Arts Center, he completed several inked stir stick embossings on site, two of which are included in the exhibition.
All of the configured coffee-related materials incorporated within Brilliant’s sculptural environment reflect his underlying impulse to render “drawings in space.” He states, “Central to all my work is an interest in patterning and mark-making fused with the use of pre and post-consumer manufactured materials and the use of rhythm and repetition to create installations, objects and works on paper.”
INSTALLATIONS The Richmond Piece, 2011 – 70,000 wooden coffee stir sticks woven in place and held by tension Product Configuration, 2011 – Black, White, and Brown coffee cup lids arranged on the wall Coffee Cup Sleeve (continuous loop), 2011 – 4500, coffee cup sleeves stacked one inside of another A Thin Green Line, 2011 – Iced coffee straws liberated from Richmond area Coffee shops The sounds of vibrating coffee cups, triggered by the amount of motion in the gallery, 2011 – found to-go coffee cups, wood, silver bullet personal massagers, cell phone chargers, motion detectors, custom wiring
WORKS ON PAPER Sleeve Mandala, 2010 – Coffee cup sleeve collagraph on BFK Rives cream The Milledgeville Impression, 2011 – Woven stir stick embossing on bfk rives cream The Rock Hill Impression, 2011 – Woven stir stick embossing on bfk rives cream The Milledgeville Impression, 2011 – Woven stir stick embossing on bfk rives cream The GR Haze, 2011 – One color lithograph printed from aluminum plate with spray paint ground Dots and Lines, 2011 – Coffee cup sleeve collagraph on domestic etch Sleeve Mandala (diptych), 2010 – Coffee cup sleeve collagraph on BFK Rives cream To The Center, 2010 – Coffee cup sleeve collagraph on BFK Rives cream 18 Rabbit – Laser Cut Paper edition on card stock The GR Impression, 2011 – Woven stir stick embossing on cotton rag The Richmond Impression, 2011 – Woven stir stick relief print with embossing