Gathered into one another’s company, George Quasha’s Axial Stones establish a zone of riveting stillness. Yet each was brought to that shared state by a history—a tempo of events—entirely its own. It is the work of an instant to spot a likely stone, but it may take the artist days or years to see how two stones fit together to form a single piece. The fitting itself can be quick or slow. In any case, the process follows strict rules: one stone must be balanced on another, at a narrow point of contact, and no adhesive is permissible nor may either stone be modified in any way. The results are astonishing.

At first glance, it looks as if Quasha has found a batch of wildly eccentric natural objects. Then one realizes, with a start, what one is seeing. In each case, not one but two objects have been joined at precisely the point that turns them into a unity. These configurations appear to be sturdy. Yet each is so delicately balanced that the slightest touch would topple it. Their collective title, Axial Stones, draws attention to the axes around which all of them must, out of deference to gravity, be organized. Most axes—the axis of the earth, for example, or the crossed axes of a Beaux Arts building—are not only clear but stable and, we hope, permanent. The axes of the Axial Stones are different: clear and for the moment stable but charged with an air of contingency. Uninterested in the sort of axis that enforces solidity, Quasha finds ones that look alive with precariousness. Thus he collaborates in a redefinition of art that was launched by John Cage, his favorite predecessor, and might be understood, in brief, as a dismissal of Plato, who dismissed art as derivative.

excerpt from Axial Stones: an art of precarious balance
foreword by
Carter Ratcliff
click here for complete foreword and prologue