Thursday, July 24, 2008

so long, beauford.

Beauford 2006-2008
Beauford was a nice little sculpture with a great sense of humor. He was built specifically for a solo show at the SC Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities where he served as a focal point welcoming viewers into the gallery. In early July he was quietly disassembled.
My decision to kill off Beuford was immediately met with a "Why?" followed by "That was one of my favorites. What were you thinking?".
This has happened before, you know. A few years ago I bisected a large sculpture intending to create two new sculptures from the pieces. One day after the separation a collector contacted me and asked to buy the original.
There were several reasons Beauford needed to go into that sweet by and by but the most important reason is that what I was trying to communicate with him, I never felt I was able to completely get across. The visual focal area was so strong that most viewers concentrated only on that area for interpretation. A few of my ideas were too quiet and at least one was far too loud. So after second and third guessing myself, I hacked the sculpture into pieces and began the process all over again.
Over the course of the last month I've had a couple of cursing fits, I've tossed a couple of hammers, and I've almost given up on the project three times. Seriously. And I'm not much of a giver-up-er. I am not proud of my almost-tantrums nor my extreme frustration, but in my defense it has been about two thousand degrees here recently along with humidity you almost have to dog paddle through. Add some molten steel, long sleeves, gloves, and thick denim jeans to that and you might think of throwing a hammer too.
All silliness aside, the really bad part is that each day when I left the metal shop and each day I arrived again I would look at the sculpture with a quick thirty second critical eye. Each time I was disappointed. Each time I shook my head and wondered if I had made a huge mistake.
Late Saturday when I left the shop, I gave the work in progress the critical once-over and for the first time I sort of cracked up a little. This is a good sign. I think it's working. There's still another couple of weeks of heavy grinding, sanding, and serious critiquing, but there's a chance this one could be really good. The uncertainty is healthy.

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