SAN FRANCISCO SCULPTOR Andy Vogt, 46, who was educated as a mul-
timedia artist at Carnegie Mellon University and worked as an architectural
model maker and set builder in the Bay Area, now regularly checks the
contents of trash bins.
In doing that, he has a goal. He’s looking for discarded Victorian- and
Edwardian-era hardwood lath that was used as backing for plaster walls.
About 10 years ago when Vogt arrived in the Bay Area, a building and remodeling boom was underway and bins were overflowing with such debris.
“I came from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where nothing seemed to change, but
in San Francisco that’s all you saw around you. Change. Buildings were disappearing at an alarming rate, and old wood lath was there for the taking,” he says.
With rampant gentrification that has made it impossible for artists to find affordable housing or studio space in the city, Vogt turned his concern into an artistic
opportunity. But the material he found also sparked a body of work that ranges from
two-dimensional “drawings” and “sketches,” all made of strips of about one-inch-wide
lath grouped together, to three-dimensional sculptures and site-specific installations.
“At first, I treated the lath as if it was a drawing medium like a pencil. It had
a certain line weight that varied slightly in texture and width depending on the
era it was manufactured in. I began to draw with it,” Vogt says.
In the process, the artist took advantage of different shades of color and
stains the lath had acquired naturally over time to not just render lines but
also indicate light and shade.
“The forms modeled in this way with light and dark wood are sculptural
to look at but they are essentially flat,” Vogt says. “My work is sculpture as
drawing.” Still working two-dimensionally, with mathematical precision, he
lays together strips of lath from his curated collection to form two-dimensional
cubes, rectangles, scaffolds and cones that have an Escher-esque quality and
seem to jump forward off the surface or recede into it, depending on the angle
the objects are viewed from.
Opposite: “Visible Spectrum,” 2013, 52 by 29 inches in diameter, is among the few truly
three-dimensional pieces Vogt creates using salvaged wood lath. From top to bottom are other works that play with shadows: “El Cuadrado,” 2016, 18 by 37 inches of
salvaged wood lath; “Altered Mirror,” 2013, 30-by-65-inch acrylic mirror that is spotlit;
“Untitled (09092015),” 2015, 30-by-40-inch light-oxidized pigment on cotton; and “Non
Obj Box,” 2016, 61. 5 by 166 inches made of salvaged wood lath.