MARCH: RESUMPTIONS ANNOUNCED AGAIN
green slate, glass, Georgia foliated talc, North Carolina jade, jade, Vermont Radio Black marble, bloodstone, copper, aluminum, brass, silver leaf, pigment
36¼”x 11¾”x 2½”
I like things and the stories they tell. Those things that have rich and complicated stories are treasures. As an artist I am like a pirate, taking these treasures from the world and making them mine when I work them into intersecting narratives which can then be explored through vision and touch. Though I’d like the viewer to think I was telling the truth, I know only too well that it is a lie. As Picasso said, “We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand.” That understanding comes from the realization that the art is but a fib — it isn’t real, it is simply just a fabricated story. But material is truth, isn’t it? Material cannot lie of itself, can it? And so each type of material I choose to use is selected for its unique qualities, and the each quality will give both credence and depth of the story expressed in the work. Though working with the juxtapositions of many materials, I consider myself first and foremost a carver — meaning I’m pretty-good at figuring out what needs to be taken-away to make it more believable. In the process of carving the material is the genesis of all considerations for me. In other words, it all must begin with the material, because the truth of material will lend credence to my lies.
When Brancusi said, “… you cannot make what you want to make, but what the material permits you to make. You cannot make out of marble what you would make out of wood, or out of wood what you would make out of stone.” he was telling me that the specific processes and tools I use as a sculptor also compel me to create specific types of form. It follows that if I can but then understand the potential allowed within those processes (and in each accompanying tool within that process), then my conceptual vocabulary will also be expanded to its own greatest potential and to thus extend my power to communicate and tell the stories — the lies — that need to be told to reveal the truth. I have found that when I extend myself through the addition of new processes and the tools I grow as an individual. As an artist that growth is what makes me decide to create a new work (tell a new story, make-up a new fib).
Isamu Noguchi – who studied with Brancusi for a time – wrote, “The essence of sculpture is for me the perception of space, the continuum of our existence … Since our experiences of space are, however, limited to momentary segments of time, growth must be the core of our existence.” He went on to write of the collaboration between the stone and the carver by noting that “carving follows the possibilities inherent to the stone. This collaboration is limited, but the other way is confrontation. What is required is a certain irrationality which a promising stone inhibits. Confrontation may lead to conquest — conquest over oneself, of course, not the stone. Art is more this than compromise: to override the inhibitions that blind.”
Like Eva Hesse, “I’m not conscious of materials as a beautiful essence … I am interested in finding out through working on the piece some of the potential and not the preconceived … I want to allow myself to get involved in what is happening and what can happen and be completely free to let that go and change.”
Collaboration is the lifeblood of intuitive sculptors like Jeff and myself in that as carvers we must work with the material. And through that collaboration with material one often finds treasure. But in collaborating with another mind — another set of perceptions — we may find an even richer trove. A bigger fib, to reveal bigger truths perhaps?