This is a boy’s world, derived from Meccano sets, Tinkertoys, model airplanes and forts built from dilapidated snow fences. The constructions, depicted and actual (Montcombroux also builds dioramas), have a higgledy-piggledy engineering that retain a touch of the hand in the modeled areas or the recorded pressure as the line veers from thin to thick, drifting through the space of the page. The coloring holds a hint of the illustrational, as does the delineation as if we are reviewing a manual replete with directions and visual instructions. But it is impossible to get away from the mad cap aura of the constructions, the sense that an insane inventor has decided to build his way out of the necessity of employing proper methods, heeding codes and stress levels, to reign free in a kingdom of his own making. There seems to be more of a miniature tool kit than a box of pencils and brushes behind the work. That the elaborate towers, flying machines and hybrid automobiles could not possibly work might be a double freedom on his inventive agenda. The gap that exists between expectation and accomplishment is banished, the stress of struggling to keep up dissipates and creativity rules.
In a society that, despite the onslaught of manufactured goods, is still intrigued and admires workmanship and detail, the amount of time these drawings require for completion, the amount of work evident in the pieces causes admiration. It speaks from the outset of man’s labour and the meeting of his efforts with the dreams of completion that fuelled them. Not to mention talent, another immeasurable aspect of the making of an artwork – Montcombroux evidently has a natural draftsman’s hand. This form of homespun knowledge is metaphorically inserted into his drawings with his use of wood, a natural building material on the airplanes, for instance, an airplane usually built of materials that reflects the epitome of scientific structural strength and durability.
In a world overrun with acumen, where the opportunity to excel is often dictated by years of training, especially in engineering professions, ideas may be aborted by the fear of their birth being a sheer impossibility. Montcombroux has adopted an open control policy by denying the concept of a failed lifeline. He proliferates the dubious, weird and wacky offspring of his genius. He expands through a new and unfettered production of parts, mechanical cells, or buds. He is determined to increase in number, to multiply in his rickety bed of sticks, and with his inverted diagrams giving private instruction, he climbs a ladder rung by rung - as he erects it. Adding to and taking away from the strictures of industrial materials usage, Bruce Montcombroux creates the ultimate widget, only to supercede his final step with the onset of his next new idea.
Copyright © 2007, Julie Oakes