Dante’s “Inferno” (Canto XI) conveys a suggestion for artists that is especially germane to my work: “Your art’s good is to follow nature insofar as it can.” My work leads me into forests to encounter how the fundamental forces of nature act on the figure of wood. Lightening strikes a tree, wind and rain batter it, frost heaves its roots. Ice breaks limbs from trunks, legions of ants leave their calligraphic prints on the soft wood beneath the bark, man and machine wade through…all and alike leaving behind dead wood. This for me is the vineyard of creative destruction where, to begin, the act of seeing is a type of making. First we may see how exterior contours suggest a rhythm, an essence, an evocation of nature’s abstract forms. Then the fifth compass point, in, reveals other spatial realities …holes, cavities, textures, tunnels, knobs, jagged asymmetricality…all part of the inherently transcendental nature of nature. This is the raw material for art of the natural world, where subtle manipulation of the artifacts renders these damaged but beautiful pieces at once works of nature and works of man.
Contemplative if not intellectual, these pieces are offered as invitations to behold nature. As the philosopher stones of the East are understood as metaphors of the mountains where the greater spirits dwell, these pieces of mine seek to bring the outdoors in. To borrow a phrase from the Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni, they represent, individually and collectively, “unique forms of continuity in space.”
4' span of elmwood
4' x 4'
Small piece of jak fruit wood from Sri Lanka
5' tall black cherry
From a New England stone wall
The name of this piece invokes energy.
Cedar root 4'x3'x18" tall
with copper leaf inside and a small light under the glass top