Mountain House Series.
About 15 years ago while hiking on the Appalachian Trail I started gathering interesting looking sticks and using waxed twine to tie them together and form them into fish. These made for some cool sculptures but I didn’t have a good way to display them, so they simply piled up. About 5 years ago I had a revelation after seeing an “Adirondack Frame” made out of sticks. I realized that a stick frame could be a great way to hold my fish, especially if I flooded the frame with clear epoxy which makes the entire scene appear to be under water.
Since then I have been gathering sticks, rocks, pods, palm fronds etc. from all of the places that I have been fishing, hiking and vacationing. Now instead of using paint to create an image, my palette is a table full of rocks, sticks and shells. When I make a hanging sculpture (I’m still tempted to call them paintings) I know where every element in the sculpture came from – that bark is from a live oak tree on the Alapaha River, those black rocks are from a canoe trip on the Ocmulgee River, that bamboo is from East Beach on St. Simons Island, etc. Knowing where each element of my pictures came from adds a bit of history to each piece and a deeper meaning to my art. When I see the sculpture hanging on the wall, my mind can’t help but flash back to the canoe trip or hike when I gathered all the parts that make up the whole visual experience.
To help the viewer connect with my sculptures, I make a hand written letter that goes with each sculpture that tells where all the elements came from. By knowing a little more, I hope the viewer can feel the history of each piece. Even without the letter I want to engage people and show them that art supplies are all around them – all you have to do is pick them up and put them together. My goal is for each piece to be a visual and tactile feast of texture and natural color.
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Mountain House outdoor studio overlooking the Chatahoochi River in northern Georgia