Organically Challenged

Organically Challenged

When I first went back to college in 2002 I hadn’t really picked art as a major yet. I just took an art class because I had always liked it in the past. It was just a simple 3D design class taught by Mark Moore, but I took the assignments very seriously and probably over did it. The point is that when I was assigned an assemblage project I made this sculpture and once I was done, I was hooked. I knew from that point on that I wanted to further my education in fine art. The sculpture stands about five feet tall and is made from many different found objects. It started from the idea of the motorcycle sprocket chain welded at each link to make the spine and kept growing from there. I added brass hose clamps attached with stainless steel bolts down the spine to resemble vertabrae. The other bits of junk just seemed to fall together and I am particularly pleased with how the head turned out. It is made from one of those cages that protect a light bulb for the main structure of the head, two flashlight reflectors for the eyes, a tine from an antique plow for the beak, and I’m guessing those red things are some sort of heat sync but I’m not really sure. The wing feathers were individually cut out of simple aluminum flashing riveted together and then bolted to the spine so they can be easily removed. If you look closely you can also see a sanded swirl pattern on the wings to give them more interest. The base is a chunk of driftwood I found in the Kanawha River and also can be detached from the body. During the time I was building this thing, the Clay Center: Avampato Discovery Museum in Charleston, WV was being completed and was hosting the Appalachian Corridors Regional Juried Exhibition. I decided to enter the piece and amazingly enough, I was accepted. This was the first exhibition I was ever a part of, and so far, the largest.

Organically Challenged (detail)

I named the piece Organically Challenged mainly because the entire bird is made from manmade items and I thought the name was kind of funny. Being new to the fine art world, I hadn’t yet developed a theme to my work, but little did I know that this piece would be one of the first in a long series of related pieces of art. To this day, I believe that this sculpture would stand up well to my current work and I wouldn’t be reluctant to exhibit it together. I do have to say that some of the cast resin fish I have been working on lately, especially We Can Rebuild Them, seem to be directly related to the same concepts I had in my head while building this piece. The idea is that humans will eventually kill off enough species to start to miss them. This longing for nature will urge us to try and make a replacement with technology rather than protect them to begin with.



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