Having a strong interest in dual realms of making, both the construction carpentry world, and that of the jeweler drives much of my work. Receiving training in both fields, I bring the attention and sensitivity to materials of the jeweler, to the processes and materials of the construction world. I find the materials, processes, and structural systems of the broader construction realm inspiring. As a child, I would spend hours scrambling down into the excavated footings and foundations of a house to examine the formwork, in the way it was so elegantly held together with steel ties and wedge plates. There is a poetry to the way mortar curls up at the edges of a trowel pass, or glue squeezes out from between planks.
I want to celebrate these details, these facts of the construction world, and sculpture lets them be celebrated. The systems used within building construction exhibit a facility with material characteristics, which is fascinating. Wedge and gravity based support structures/ bracing demonstrate a sophisticated level of understanding in how to manipulate elements. Even the simple use of a ridged trowel for flooring adhesive demonstrates an astute understanding of how such a fluid will provide a properly level base when it is laid in rows , as it thus is allowed to compress evenly when flooring is applied. There is such a elegance to the simplicity of the solution, and sophistication to the depth of the material and process knowledge, that I have a great appreciation for.
The considered use of a materials in a way contrary to its normal strengths or characteristics, can lend a new context for examination of surface qualities, or a material’s composure. Concrete, cast into a thin hollow beam, suspended from the ceiling is freed from a conventional, functional understanding by performing in a way that is counter to its strength. Having great compressive strength, but virtually no tensile strength, the suspended concrete is moved far from its functional origin, and exists for its expressive qualities; the frozen movement of a liquid that has become solid, pores and bubbles from trapped air, or the stone-like richness and depth to the surface. The work thus relies on conventional understandings of material in order to be effectively allow a re-assessment. To appreciate that a thin, long, delicate, polished slab, curving under it’s own weight can be made of concrete, one has to recognize/confront the commonplace understanding of concrete. The “how” of the construction becomes a vehicle for further examination of a material, or an interaction between structural elements.
Making sculpture with construction materials and systems offers a context that allows for a focus on the physical and formal elements, as well as the ingenuity of the worker. As a natural environment of sculpture is within the gallery setting, on display for exploration, and admiration of form, surface, or conceptual/expressive content materials and systems are allowed to be appreciated for what they bring to the artwork. Sculpture has an honesty to it in this sense; objects and materials are allowed to be appreciated for how they exist in front of the viewer, and own the fact that their function is to be viewed/explored/enjoyed. Construction materials, processes and systems become highlighted through the approach of a jeweler’s hand, in a sculptural format.