Monday, October 18, 2010
Faternus & Packardi
Wood/metal/inner tubes/found objects
28" x 18" x 21"
I have started walking on a trail by the local college that my daughter is attending. It goes through high prairie, with a mixture of desert grasses, arroyos and pinon and juniper trees.
The other day I went for a walk out there, hoping that I would stumble on my next inspiration for a sculpture. Unexpectedly, out of the high grass, a huge raven flew up. He circled around me, then perched on an old dead pinon tree, watching me as I walked by. I can tell you he was BIG and DARK, a blue-black shimmery presence...a bird not easily forgotten.
During that walk, I saw about a dozen ravens and crows. I also realized that I wanted to make some of these intense birds myself. The natural material to cover them in seemed to be inner tubes. By the time I got back to my studio,I had planned this piece in my head.
The two birds are wrapped in tubing, giving them an intense mummy-like 'look' but also a feeling that their bursting energy is contained inside the forms...but not for long.
32" x 29" x 11"
Pelicans are amazing birds, flying like WWII bombers, skimming the water in perfect formation. Throwing their heads back to swallow their catch, their flappy gullets act like garbage disposals, consuming everything. I've never heard the sound that pelicans make, but I better it is expressive.
Earlier this summer I made a pelican head, in honor of all the birds caught in the oil spill in the gulf. This is the first full body pelican that I have built. His legs are old croquet mallet handles and his chest is covered in a child's white bicycle tire. His 'feathers' are a combination of dead branches, old metal pipes, pieces of tire rims and a rusted bicycle chain. His gullet is made from an old screen door. I painted his feet blue.
There is quite an assortment of old tools, bits of wood and metal, and found objects hanging off of him. His wooden neck had rusted nails and screws attached to it.
26" x 19" x 9"
Otters are so expressive and energetic. This fellow had kept the rock that he uses to break clam shells with him as he peers around. I found that rock on a beach outside of Sitka, Alaska, where I saw both sea and river otters.
His body is wrapped in a layer of lead sheeting, giving him a nautical look. An old mountain bike tire is attached to his chest and his back. Odds and ends are hanging off his body.
His tail is made up of old sticks and pieces of rusted metal and banded with a couple of pipe clamps and his hands and feel are made from wrapped wire.
33" x 12"x 12"
I continue to make a variety of rabbits--sitting, standing, and, of course, running.
This fellow carries a small (sharp) saw blade. Mischief seems to be on his mind!
20" x 6" x 36"
Rabbits are incredibly graceful when they are running.(I bet that's not what they are worried about when they run.) This rabbit is in mid-stride, jumping over a small chamisa bush.
He is built from a combination of mountain bike tires, old tin cans, rivets, and a lot of found objects.
Friday, October 1, 2010
29" x 23" x 8"
This monkey was created for a wonderful collector from Texas. She commissioned me to make the monkey for her son.
I think of this creature coming in the box that he stands on, kind of like a kit that you could buy to build animals. His hair and tail are made from steel wool. He is holding a glass door knob, which gives the piece an almost Victorian feel.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saffrana and Mezira
38" x 32" x 18"
This is the second piece that I have created where two dogs are traveling together. I am fascinated by the interaction between them, both the emotional charge and physical presence.
One dog is quite a bit larger than the other one. I see them as partners signaling each other. Each has a subtlety raised paw, which we humans do not know the meaning of, but they do.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The Courtship of Purcist & Osmia
22" x 30" x 22"
When I was a kid, my father kept chickens in an old shed on the property. One of my jobs was to feed them and also get the eggs. Often when I was in the shed, the roosters would chase me into a corner and peck my bare feet. It hurt like hell! I'd finally get up enough courage to make a run for the door, often forgetting to both feed the chickens and get the eggs.
These two chickens, a rooster and hen, are in the middle of a courtship dance (at least in my mind.) He is standing proud, showing off his glorious tail feathers, while the hen struts in front of him, dazzling him with her colorful wings. Both try to impress the other.
Both birds are built from an assortment of branches, metal, bike tires and found objects.
47" x 10" x 10"
Years ago one of the first birds that I made was a Great Blue Heron. I am revisiting this species with this latest creation. I find these striking birds to be both prehistoric and futuristic at the same time.
Lateralis has a body wrapped in a children's white bicycle tire, a neck plumage made from a black mountain bike tire and wing and tail feathers comprised of branches, metal rods, and left over tire elements. Hanging off of him are old hand tools like screw drivers and punches. The yellow feathers seen on his chest are made from old electrical wire.
34" x 10" x 10"
The one creature that I keep coming back to over and over again is the rabbit. I still love finding new ideas, expressions and actions for them.(In New Mexico they get BIG and feel a bit menacing.)
This standing rabbit is a bit of a trickster. He is looking over his shoulder as he holds an old saw blade in his hands. Is he going to saw something down, throw the blade at somebody, or use it as a musical instrument(as is seen in southern jug bands.)?
He is made from old sticks, cloth, rusted and painted metal and found objects.
31" x 28" x 14"
I also love making dogs, and think about them as a universal breed. My dogs have combinations of just about everything from Chiwawas to Arctic Wolves. (My father loved animals, especially dogs. I was always around them and I can remember just about every one, from the noisy basset hound to the feisty Jack Russel and the assortment of playful yellow and black labs.)
I think of Pallida as a scout, ahead of the pack, checking out the territory. He is alert, but at the same time perky and playful. You can tell from the way his feet are positioned.
He is crafted from old sticks, cloth, rusted and painted metal and found objects.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The Trek of Galguphia and Saldula
38" x 24" x 24"
This sculpture is based on my trek in the Himalayas in 2005. I went there to celebrate turning 50 with my friend Mark. I think of these dogs as Mark and myself on the trail. The final trek to reach the pass at over 16,000 feet was incredibly intense but an amazing life-changing experience. These guys are celebrating that experience.
The base is fabricated from old, rusted Coleman stove gas containers, which seems appropriate. The dogs are made from mountain bike tires, sticks, screws, bolts, and found objects.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
A Portrait of The Artist As A Rabbit
18" x 15" x 3"
After reading an article in The New Yorker about fine art painting factories in China, I got this idea that I wanted my own painting created.
First off, I had an image of one of my rabbits set into a surrealistic background created digitally. Then I sent the digital file to a painting company in China. One month later the painting arrived on my door step. It looked almost exactly like the file that I had sent to them.
In framing the piece I had an idea of something more medieval or ornate. I gave a rough idea of the frame to a framer and he built the form, then I added onto it and covered the wood with a variety of materials that I am currently using such as lead, mountain bike tires and found objects.
This photograph is the result of my efforts to create a portrait of one of my animals in another media.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
16" x 38" x 8"
I'm starting to assemble a group of animals for the SOFA West show in Santa Fe in July. The center piece is going to be Vulpes, seen above, chasing a rabbit. I am excited about building running animals. There is so much energy in each piece.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I have continued to use old mountain bike tires for many of the elements in my animals. This canine sits on a base fabricated from a wonderful mountain bike tire that, upon close inspection, looks like a black alligators hide. He also has some white children s bike tires attached to his body.
Growing up on an old horse farm allowed me to be surrounded by a variety of animals. My father loved having them around. Some of the critters that I lived with included a variety of dogs and cats, a squirrel monkey, a red fox, a goat, snakes,lizards, rabbits, mice, squirrels and assorted wild animals that came and went.
One of my childhood friends was what might be called an animal whisperer. He could catch just about anything we came across and he seemed to have no fear when it came to grabbing some writhing creature.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Just finished another dog. I'm still recovering after my show in February at Jane Sauer's Gallery in Santa Fe. The show went very well, much better than I ever expected. Most of the work sold, I got two commissions, an article in SouthWest Art and several other publications.
Working so closely with Jane, and her amazing support of my work, (along with her terrific staff,) has made me realize that I need to stay focused on creating strong work. When we sat down to talk about the show and the future, we both realized that for at least the next year, my concentration needs to be on all her upcoming art fairs.
I have planned some new ideas for each fair, both in Santa Fe in July, and Chicago in November. After that show then I have to get ready for the solo show in February, 2011.
It all comes down to focus...
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
14" x 32" x 6"
Recently my friend Sally called me with an unusual story. She said that while she was outside her house she say an owl flying over her barn. She noticed that it dropped something on the roof. The creature quickly fled behind it. After a couple of viewings, Sally identified the creature as a ring tailed cat. Not something that is often seen in Santa Fe.
She thought I might be interested in hearing about her new border...and as a result, I researched the cat and created my own interpretation of it. Seen here, it is stalking something in the bushes, most likely a mouse.
22.5" x 21" x 6"
While completing my menagerie of creatures of curiosity, I knew that I wanted to build something that was tall and awkward. Nothing came to mind.
Recently I was thumbing through a magazine.In it I saw a picture of a giraffe. It reminded me that many years ago, while traveling across Africa, I has seen running giraffes in a game park. What struck me at the time was how graceful these strange animals where. It was as if someone were running on stilts. I decided that this was the animal that I wanted to add to my collection of creatures.
The first thing I made was the body. Then I built the four legs and neck out of an assortment of painted sticks. Once these were attached to the body, I screwed some more sticks and painted metal to the back and neck. Next I roughed out the shape of the head from a bundle of sticks. then I attached it to the neck, adding the eyes, ears and horns. For the hoofs, I cut apart a mountain bike tire. These pieces were wired to each foot. Finally several metal scraps were hung off the piece.
23" x 14" x 8"
This little guy was the last piece completed for the show. He is looking around,checking every thing out. He's kind of tired, having just spent the last hour being chased by a wild coyote.
25" x 21" x 10"
This porcupine has blue tinted quills. The base I used was part of a fire tool kit. It seemed like the perfect pedestal for this guy.
These are the final four sculptures for my show.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Have you ever watched a rabbit run? It goes through quite a few configurations. This piece captures three different running gestures of one rabbit.
This piece was inspired by seeing "The "Bathers," a series of four sculptures that Matisse made over a period of at least a dozen years. (When I was a kid, my father bought all of the Time/Life series of books on famous artists. I can remember seeing these sculptures that Matisse made of the back of one of his models.) As he progressed with each piece, it became simpler, and by the fourth one, it was almost totally an abstract interpretation of a woman's back.
The other important inspiration in making the three poses of a running rabbit was from looking at the work of the photographer, Eadweard J. Muybridge. I have continued to be fascinated by his photographs capturing the movement of animals and humans.
My friend Rupama gave me an old croquette set, thinking that I could use parts of it for an installation. This dog is what came from using what she gave me. He sits on the croquette case with a ball nestled under him.(you can still faintly see the writing on the crate.)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Feb. 12 – March 16, 2010
Friday, Feb. 12 Opening Reception: 5-7pm, Artist will be present
Saturday, Feb. 13, Gallery talk by Geoffrey Gorman, “Creatures of Curiosity”, Art, Life, and Challenges”
Title: Creatures of Curiosity
Geoffrey Gorman’s work typically folds together history, real life experiences, and his own colorful imagination. As an artist, he is continually exploring new places within the folds, finding unique sources and materials that will enhance his desired expression. He is always ready for an adventure, and needs no encouragement to travel to unknown places, whether in his mind or in reality. This is evident in animals discovered in the exhibition “Creatures of Curiosity”.
Historically, “Cabinets of Curiosity”, assembled in 16th Century Europe, became the earliest museums, where diverse collections of oddities from around the world could be seen in one place. These “rooms of wonder” contained unicorn horns, mermaid skeletons, stuffed and preserved plants and animals, insects floating in amber fluid, lenses, and obscure scientific instruments. These sumptuous accumulations of unknown and unfamiliar objects were assembled in beautifully constructed cabinets, contained within entire rooms displaying artifacts from floor to ceiling.
“I think of my constructed creations as present day artifacts that might have been collected and assembled in a Cabinet of Curiosity” states Gorman.
The title, “Creatures of Curiosity” is the artist’s adaptation of the original to fit his interest in giving physical presence to creatures that lurk in his imagination. Gorman further states, “Where these creatures came from and what meanings they hold are still unknown. Indicators and clues as to their origins can be found on each creature – but often the markings, materials and methods of construction can be confusing. Studied closely, each creature seems to have similar construction –patterns, tattoos and indications of tribal identification”. Is this a subtle statement about the inner connections of all animals, and maybe all of mankind? Gorman is an avid observer of both the animal kingdom, ancient and contemporary, and of the human species. His work raises questions about links that cannot yet be answered.
With Gorman, one never knows which comes first, the animal or the material. Gorman wanders the arroyos and hills around Santa Fe, accumulating old rusted and weathered materials. Some parts are gifts from interested friends. Gorman recently discovered another great gathering ground, Habitat for Humanity, where used building materials are for sale. Almost every day something different can be found in the bins. An aisle containing old discarded wire initiated thoughts about animals that have distinctive hair. “Dicactylus”, an ant eater, was born with a glorious and expressive tail made of the new wire. He also has armor like covering created from a discarded bicycle tire turned inside out. He is captured mid-stride, his worn underside streaming a strange accumulation of hanging objects. According to his maker, “during his journeys this creature has attracted various talismans to his belly like metal to magnets”.
“Thryonomydae” based on a horned lizard, is assembled from both white and black bicycle tires, along with a variety of nails, screws and rusted bolts. Around his neck hangs an old paint brush and underneath his body other objects dangle down. The pedestal is constructed of cabinet handles, a wheel, and found hardware. He seems to be smiling at his audience and generates sweetness, not usually associated with a lizard. A kindred spirit is “Indri”, an oddly categorized animal that is fish-like. The pangolin is large and acts a little like a tree sloth. This strange looking animal is hunted in parts of Africa and Asia for meat and scales, both of which are thought to have medicinal properties. Gorman’s version is profusely covered with scales of black rubber with rusted metal claw like little toes. Indri has collected a few charms along his way also and has a small wheel on his back which propels him along life’s path. He is both menacing and could become an endeared child’s toy.
To followers of Gorman’s work, he is known to cross the line between warm and affectionate animals to those which are frightening. Deciphering the two extremes is not always an easy task. Ambiguity can be a powerful ingredient in Gorman’s work. He is able to agilely straddle both sides of this dichotomy.
Whether it be a rabbit poised to spring, two birds huddled together, peering felines, quizzical canines, pondering armadillos, a miniature running antelope, or crawling lizards, they will all beckon you to follow them into the shadows of Gorman’s realm of the curiously outlandish and bizarre.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, Geoffrey Gorman will give a gallery talk about his work, this exhibit, and his ideas about art, life, and today’s challenges. There will be ample time for questions and answers. The lively discussion by this effervescent artist will surely warm a cold winter Saturday afternoon.