Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Maybe its all in the Presentation?

Those who have been following my recent work have seen me start to shift from more practical to more sculptural pieces. Partially 'to blame' for this is my old friend and long time artisan maker Jim Macnamara. When I created the first of the 'Shades of Ancient Oceans' series (based on fossil fish), Jim encouraged me to continue with the series. There have been about a half dozen to date. A good number have been sold at Summer Folk, where I actually have someone who has started collecting the series.
The positive reception of the 'Shades' series encouraged me to continue with what I call 'Windbiles'. These are sculptural metalworks which are moving, powered by wind. They differ from weather vanes in that they don't necessarily give an indication of wind direction.

Now, the second of the 'Shades' series - 'Coelcanth' was a little less pre-meditated, although certainly quite whimisical. I had an off cut from making the heavy grid used for sizing charcoal used in iron smelting. The piece had a series of short flat bars joined by a long round rod. The overall effect was quite like a fish spine and ribs. I also had a heavy plate left over from an antique wagon kicking around the shop. Merely welding the two pieces together suggested a fish skeleton. I added a couple of forged 'fins' and ....
This piece, about two and half feet long and originally set up to be mounted flat against the wall, never attracted much interest.

So - its a sad truth that any work has a life span. There is a real limit to how many times you can exhibit the same pieces. I normally try for at least a one year rotation, with older piece held back at least over a second full year before being shown to the public again. Problem is that with time and hauling around comes damage, and usually after a second course of display the pieces are no longer really 'sellable'.
What to do with them? Sometimes they become gifts or donations. A few end up stuck in my own yard. Now I understand how people amass 'sculpture gardens'! Over the years my own collection of art pieces dotted around Vinderheim is certainly growing.

So, I figured time had come to move 'Coelcanth' from its storage, hung on the entry to my workshop, back into the yard some place. As it was a fish, I figured to place it in our pond. The pond level shifts dramatically over the course of a year. I mounted the sculpture on a metal rod, dilled out a large stone for a base, then placed the whole close to the low water line.

As you can see, the fall rains have already lifted the water depth to cover over the base stone. By spring high water, only the top couple of inches of the sculpture should be showing above water.

But wait a minute!
What had seemed to me a tired old piece now looks pretty darn good, if I have to say so myself.

Its still for sale...

1 comment:

Glendon Mellow said...

It looks excellent in the pond! I love the head.


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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