Sunday, January 24, 2010

“Art is the sex of the imagination.” - George Jean Nathan

I’ve always liked Nathan’s statement. But art is really the foreplay of the imagination. It teases and torments both artist and viewer, coaxing them onward, not reaching consummation.

Art takes simple physical form and finds within it an expression or gesture hinting at the heart and soul of the viewer. It is this teasing at the edges, this suggestive revealing, that empowers art. This evocative interplay of gesture and expression is the litmus paper. It must speak to the viewer...the interpreter. Art without a viewer is nothing but inventory. Art that leaves none of the storytelling to the viewer is still only inventory.

My art is made with fire and force: hammers and anvils and furnaces and torches. Sometimes, especially with steel, the making is a struggle of maker and material. It is often a battle of elemental forces. This struggle plays out in the surprising delicacy of these works in steel. There is an extra dimension of expressive energy captured by the stubborn resistance of steel against the making. It is a dimension that is informed by my expectations and demands as maker, and as viewer as well.

I usually do not ascribe titles to pieces, since this act would steer the viewer toward my preconceived ideas and thus abort the interaction between the maker and the interpreter. And I am often surprised at the direction that viewers take with a piece. That surprise is a good measure of my success.

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