STATEMENT OF CREATIVE METHOD
Drawings and small clay figures help me plan out my pieces. I scale up from the drawings to determine the size of the sculpture. I use logs or milled 4x4s that are 8 feet long. They serve as the internal core of my work. Using clamps, straps, glue and dowels, I attach one 4x4 to another to create the general shape. I stack blocks into flat, geometric forms. Once the flat geometric form is up, I start drawing out the silhouette, marking proportions and key body points: breast bone, knees, pelvic bone, etc. At this point, I add wood where needed to build out the form. Hundreds of pieces of wood are applied. I will add and take away, add and take away, constantly marking and leaving directional notes on the developing structure. Every mark remains on the piece, suggesting facial features, expression, points of reference and directions. Face, hands and legs are shaped with saws, grinders, and chisels. I use many woods: poplar, pine, cedar and fir, and apply parts of logs, wedges, boards and small scraps. Hundreds of pieces of wood are anchored into place using glue and dowels. I add paint and chalk to agitate and enliven the surface of the finished piece.
My work is about people and their spirit. It is about our place in the world as we navigate through our lives alone and in relationships. It is a comment on the human condition, human relationships, and human foibles. In its seriousness, it is often humorous.
I started working in wood several years ago. Having trained and worked as an architect, I am drawn to the construction process and often use wood to build over-life-sized figures. While working, I discovered that I had greater flexibility using carpenter's 4x4s as the central components of my work. Laminating them together afforded me the opportunity to work in large scale. I apply hundreds of pieces of wood to the structural core of the 4x4s. Adding on and taking away, I glue and dowel, cut and carve, to create the bulk that forms my sculpture. I am after mass with a contrasting lightness of being.
My aim is to empower the sculpture with a physical and psychological presence. The layers of raw wood grain, textured surface, and applied paint energize the pieces, giving them a living quality. Each has a story, affirming life in its complexity. The baby pulling away from its mother in "Breaking Away" wants to be independent. The man holding up the woman on his narrow shoulders in "Piggyback" boldly endures her weight. The "Warrior Women" are defiantly frontal, confrontational and incomplete. While they are all strong and anchored (most of them supported by mammoth legs), their painted faces suggest human vulnerability.
We are, after all, works in progress struggling along,
hoping to bring meaning into our lives. We are layered
just as the sculpture is. So much of who we are is
undisclosed and invisible. Leaving buried directions and
markings under the layers of wood is my attempt to
suggest the hidden depth of our being.