Friday, January 30, 2009

Interview With The Artist* Part II

DO YOU JUST MAKE ANIMALS? No. I make other objects too. For my show at Jane Sauer's gallery in February, I just completed a male and female couple that hang on the wall. Some of the first figures that I built were what I thought of as tree spirits, or the energy of the tree, which is called lignin. Another influence on my figures is the people that they have found in bogs in Europe.
This particular couple is wearing masks. After carving the masks, I put little pieces of an old paint brush in them to suggest hair. The masks have the feeling of owls who are peering around and curious. Hanging off their bodies is my usual assortment of old typewriter parts, rusted metal, and found objects. The male figure has a small skull hanging off his waist. (Click on the image to see the details.)

Over the winter, I was reading The Marsh Arabs by Wilfred Thesige, an account of his time in the 1950's spent with the Arabs that lived in the marshes in Iraq. He took beautiful photographs of them, and what really fascinated me were the fishing boats that they carved. They used small nets to fish with and that is what my sculpture is based on, two men hauling in their fishing net.

ABOUT? Oh, the baboon heads? I became obsessed with monkeys and our close relationship to them. I've also been fascinated with the various forms of money that I've seen used around the world, especially from Africa, and how it often would be made into a practical, recognizable form or shape, like a bracelet. These baboon heads have an interesting feel to them, as if they were ancient trading objects or some old sculpture. I mounted them on blocks of wood covered in rusted tin, as if they had come from a museum display.

I also made two of the monkey heads covered in canvas, which has a more tribal feel to it. They are both on metal shelves that are constructed from rusted metal. I think professional presentation of my work is critical.

Here is a picture of a portrait of a duck, in honor of all the Peking Ducks that are eaten in China. (I made the mistake of going to a famous Peking Duck restaurant while in Beijing and it was truly horrible. Hundreds of people and dozens of duck bodies lined up for the slaughter.) His 'hair' is made from an old paint brush.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Interview With The Artist*

WHO ARE YOU? I'm many things. I started out in art school many years ago majoring in photography. Now I'm a practicing artist, and have been for the last several years. I've also been helping my Santa Fe gallery dealer, Jane Sauer, with art fairs around the world. That involves setting up the booth and selling the art. Last fall we were in Beijing, China, and later in Chicago, participating in art fairs. I created 65 drawings and one print based on my impressions of the people that I met while in Beijing. This picture shows 6 of the drawings.

I also continue to coach and consult with artists and arts organizations. But I'm putting most of my focus on making a living at creating and selling my sculptures and drawings. So I guess I'm this combination of struggling artist, prepator, gallery dealer, coach and business man.

THAT'S QUITE A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES...WHY SO MANY? I feel pretty lucky that I'm able to use many of my skills and past experiences. In constructing my sculptures I'm using my knowledge of woodworking from my many years as a custom furniture maker. In promoting and marking my own art, I'm following my own advice. And it's been pretty interesting to see how it works from the other side, the side of the working artist, the ones who have to survive in the commercial art world. Its tougher than I thought, what I mean is I have to be tougher, harder, more persistent, even pushy, when it comes to promoting myself. Being a professional artist is not for the meek and mild!

WHAT ABOUT THE ART FAIRS? I was a gallery dealer for fifteen years. But I thought I was over that part of my life. In fact I've actually really been enjoying working with Jane, setting up and hanging the shows, and selling both my work and other artist's work. The China fair was pretty slow but the show in Chicago in November was amazingly busy...and fun. Being in Beijing was fascinating and we met some interesting gallery dealers and artists.

I'VE JUST BECOME FAMILIAR WITH YOUR SCULPTURES. THEY ARE CURIOUS, TO SAY THE LEAST... I've heard worse, I guess. Some people are really turned off when they see my pieces. Other people totally get them. Hey, I'm happy that I can get any response at all, good or bad.

Recently I've been finding my images on other blogging sites from people I've never met, but they've been compelled enough to share my work with their audience. That's pretty cool. But I think about them very much as living, breathing dynamic creatures. (They live in a world just outside of our perception. Don't forget that they are WILD creatures. They see us but we don't see them.)

I just completed this piece that is a fanciful crane, part of a series of birds I am calling prosperity birds. She's pretty weathered and care-worn but just as strong and active as ever. She is out in a marshy area collecting moss for her nest, where she lives with a large group of other birds. Her legs have been dipped in blue paint, and have that wonderful feeling of being in water (at least I hope that is the effect.)

WHAT ARE PROSPERITY BIRDS? Have you seen the cranes and wildlife that come to the bosque in southern New Mexico?
Its this fantastic wildlife refuge where a variety of birds stop by in the winter. I love the sandhill cranes that hang out there. They are fascinating to watch, when they walk its like seeing a bird on stilts, gawky and awkward but at the same time majestic. And the earthy sounds they make sound like broken sticks being hit against each other. They have these long bills that they wield around like lances or something.

My prosperity birds are based on them, and also the cranes from Japanese culture. They are considered to bring good luck and prosperity. I hope that my birds can do the same.

*This is Part 1 of a 3 Part interview with Geoffrey Gorman conducted by **BIRD, a private arts organization. (**both irrational rational dialog)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jane Sauer Gallery

Soseum, a small monkey, is part of a series of animals that have escaped from a traveling carnival show. Soseum has been on his own for quite some time, thus elements have weathered him. His coat, a torn piece of the carnival banner, is still usable but stained and worn. (His name can barely seen seen.) Attached to his arm is his old metal name plate, something he removed from his cage. Clutched in one hand he holds an old toy, possibly a part of a roller skate.

He is quite perky and enjoying his freedom. Living in the wilds, he has managed to find several other creatures that, like him, have escaped from the human world.

Steel wool makes up his fur. Rusted blue tin was used to construct his face and old fencing and branches were used to build his arms, legs and tail. Painted canvas and grommets were used to make his skin and coat. A rusted handle from an old paint can clings to his leg.

Wood/cloth/foam/metal/found objects
30" x 18" x 8"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Drawing and Ice Heads

Its been more than 30 years since I have drawn from a live model. I always loved it.

This morning I spent two hours in a studio full of other artists DRAWING a 'live' model. It was both incredibly intimidating and intensely exciting. I made the mistake of looking around at several other artists drawings; I won't do that for awhile. But I loved it, just as I loved it many years ago and am looking forward to joining the class on a weekly basis.

I have included a picture of a recent sculpture that I am 'seasoning' with my special recipe of frozen water and time. Its a life size casting of a human skull that i covered in metal, painted and now it's up to mother nature to finish it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Velox is a figure that I just completed. Influences for these figures include native toys that I have seen in Alaska, the bog people discovered in Europe and African sculptures.

The mask, (which I think of as an owl face) has hair made from an old paintbrush. Its shoulders are wrapped in rusted cloth and old parts from a typewriter hand off of it's waist.

Wood/metal/cloth/found material
21" x 7.5" x 4"

Saturday, January 17 - 11:25

I'm starting to get organized on my props and set illustrations for the opera, Language of Birds, being put on by Santa Fe New Music, in association with the Lensic, in Santa Fe. Dates for the show start on Friday, March 27. (

I'm working on building a queen's throne that will have an osprey's nest attached to it. I'm also making some cut-outs of a ship, a horse, and some flying birds. Its a great change from my other work.

I'm also finishing up the pieces for my solo show at Jane Sauer Gallery. That show will open on February 13th. Here is the latest and largest piece for the show.