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.

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