Friday, September 26, 2008

it's not easy raising the dead

Those of you following along at home may remember the mention of the death of my sculpture “Beauford” earlier this summer. If not, just pretend I placed a link to that entry here and scroll back down to July and read about it. Since I felt that I could have used the imagery better, I set about the task of disassembling “Beauford” and searching for better solutions to the visual communication problems. With a sketch and some good ideas swirling in my head I started on resurrecting the sculpture in early July.

Generally speaking, I can turn out a new large sculpture in about three weeks. Those of you familiar with my schedule will realize that does not mean 21 days of working, rather it means about 5 or 6 days of actual time in the metal shop over the course of those weeks. I am very impatient and even this relatively quick progress can seem to me to drag on forever.

But this one…this one almost killed me.

It took just over two months to complete this resurrection. I ran through all of my good ideas and realized after spending hours creating and attaching them that they were not such good ideas after all. Several dramatic changes in direction followed. A lot of steel was used. A couple of hammers were thrown in anger. I even had to venture into the research of some branches of aesthetics. And there were unfounded rumors of some sort of mild case of heat exhaustion (I maintain that I was just tired for several days).

One of the greatest experiences of this almost eternal process was the uncertainty. I’m supposed to be an artist – a professional – and yet there were so many days I left the shop in frustration fully convinced that I had no idea what I was doing. At times I just wanted to toss it all in the scrap bin and start on something I was more sure would be a success. Like everyone else, I wanted to go back to what I “knew”. Growth is overrated anyway, right? But I kept going back and kept working at it determined that I’d eventually figure it out. Each new choice I made was huge and each time I decided to try an idea, it always seemed to be an action that would either work perfectly or completely destroy the entire sculpture.

The result is “Stinky”; a sculpture that shares some similarities with my previous work in terms of its fabrication and its reliance on the design fundamentals yet it is a sculpture that stands out in stark contrast when compared to my other work in terms of color, texture and mood. It is a step in an unknown direction – a direction that I expect to explore and continue to learn from.

Will people like it? I’m not so sure. But I know that something does not have to be pretty in order to be beautiful.

There are some photos on the website, so go over and have a look and see what you think.


Unknown said...

I see your frustration over Beauford's interpretation and the process of rebuilding. It's a bit brooding, and I imagine in person it is hulking and intimidating, but I'd need to see it in person to really tell. So far Stinky is your first sculpture (that I have seen) that seems to have almost a malicious intent. He fights against the feeling of Beauford. I see Beauford as bursting with ideas ready to express and almost a sense of wonder. Stinky on the other hand is sort of the emo kid of your sculpture family, brooding and misunderstood; that's how I see it anyway. Progress is challenging, and sometimes you just need to curse and throw things.

e-sketchbook said...

I'm going to reject the word "emo", but otherwise this is pretty keen insight on your part.

mwise said...

that color is repulsive.

could it be brown?

e-sketchbook said...

Repulsive color is my specialty.

But even I dont do brown.