Cashmere Paw

This installment took place as a further investigation into aspects that came to light during the course of the D300/D300a project; one, which was not fully intended and another, which required continued observance.

The Stevenson Blanche Gallery sits on the 3rd floor of the building, the same level as the D300 gallery and Langley classroom. It is somewhat removed from the usual paths taken during the day, but locationally is the highest point in this wing of the building, initially established as the fine arts wing to the campus. Through time, the art department has spread out while some rooms such as the wood and metal shops and painting studio have not. At the time of the project, the space existed as partial gallery space and partial foyer to the many doors within the room, some retained as offices for teachers in the art department and some used as studio spaces for art students. This arrangement is such because initially the room was first conceived as the art school office, with teachers' private offices. Through time, as the art school grew, the art office moved to a different location in the building.

I was most interested in this exhibition space in relation to the D300 gallery through the numerous doors that sit on its walls. In removing the doors between D300 and D300a, the frame of all the doorways in the room became ever-present. As my interests were in revealing the passage, interior to the two spaces, and the common ground established in opening them, the framing that showed, most predominantly in the middle beam of the passage-way, was a confrontation I could concentrate on in this new evaluation of the Stevenson Blanche space.

The wall, on which the doors I had removed sit, on the classroom side, is painted a certain pinkish hue and stands alone as the only wall in both that classroom and the entire institute that was painted this color at the time leading up to the project. I found, in consulting with the institute's painter, that the name of this color was "Cashmere Paw", a specialty mixed color produced by the Dunn Edwards Paint Company, the brand predominantly used on campus. This wall in D300a is parallel to the window wall on the south side of the room with the color being utilized as a refractor of the sunlight that comes into the room in both softening and warming the light within. A component of my proposal asked for all wall surface in the Stevenson Blanch gallery to be painted this color as well as the exterior side of the entrance doors into the space.

The change in wall color acted on three levels as (1) a directed separation between usable wall space and door object, (2) the differentiation between the surface of art space in the gallery and the privacy entailed in the doors of the offices and studios beyond, and (3) a demonstration of the shift in which this color might have when applied to the entirety of an enclosed space, devoid of direct natural light, which was the case for the Stevenson Blanche space. Throughout the gallery a vinyl baseboard runs along the perimeter of the walls, breaking whenever a door-frame occurs in its path. In leaving both this baseboard and door-frame the gallery white color as they normally exist, the doors fell into beats on a circuit that traced the space and furthered the relationship between (1) and (2) above.

---

A second component of the proposal returned to ideas of the window wall and its function in the building. When exiting the Stevenson Blanch galley a short hallway exists just off of the entrance that leads to a back stairwell for this wing of the building. This hallway on one side is flanked by undergraduate photo studio spaces and on the other by a window wall facing north. At the end of this hallway, the window wall continues to run along the side of the building, entering the stairwell, but is covered by a sheet of drywall cutting off the light that might brighten the stairs. In viewing this portion of the building from outside on the ground, this small area, which is covered by drywall, is the only surface which blocks the light indefinitely, and formally irritates the continuity of this segment of window space being used as a structural wall on the building.

I had first thought to propose for this partition to be removed. This would help in (1) bringing formal continuity back to the glass exterior, (2) allow sunlight to pass into the stairwell, and (3) relate to the removal of the doors in the previous work but carry with it a formal collapse of the D300a space so that the doorway formed and the light that passed through it into the gallery would sit on the same wall-face, the same (vertical) axis. This proposal was however impossible to accomplish and the problem was reassessed. In needing to remove this blockade entirely, which would have created a permanent change on various levels to the space, it did not necessarily coincide with my proposal in the Stevenson Blanche Gallery space. I decidedly proposed to paint the interior side of this drywall, facing the stairwell, the very same "Cashmere Paw" color I was planning to use in the gallery. In doing this a formal tie was sown between this portion of wall and those in the gallery a few steps away acting as a sort of end pages, via color, of the window wall hallway which acted as a bridge, in between the two locations of paint application.

A decision was made to leave the Cashmere Paw color on the stairwell partition and entry doors to the Stevenson Blanche space after the internal gallery had been painted returned to its standard white as the problem of this partition in relation to the window wall of the hall was still a present concern. The added color brightened the stairwell in a similar capacity to the Langley D300a space.

In deciding to paint this partition, as opposed to removing it, the question of someone using the stairs could now be, "Why is this wall painted a pinkish hue?" instead of asking themselves, "How long has this window been here?"