Monday, March 1, 2010

Found Objects

If you’re walking along the beach (or in the woods, for that matter) and you come across a branch, curling upwards, beckoning towards you like the grotesque groping tree nymphs of the Wizard of Oz- Ok, I’ll reel it in a little- then you have some choices facing you. Some people would haul it home to burn as firewood. Some would drag it to their garden, set it up as a feature for the ground cover to tease. Others still would maybe leave it where it was, as if touching it would upset some delicate balance in biodiversity, and result in the irreversible desertification of the entire planet.

All of those are pretty damned fine things to do with a piece of wood discovered by surprise while out rambling.

Here’s what I would do, at least, at this point in time- I have done all the others before. I’m not an artist. I’m not someone who can translate creative beauty in his mind to strokes of paint or massage wet clay into life. But I have to be a sculptor right now. And my medium is found objects. There probably are stores selling real or even synthetic gnarled bits of wood, but I have to find them, turn them upside down until they look like wry-faced camels, or pouting senators, and put them on display. I surround them with other detritus abandoned by people or the elements until something interesting or practical is born.

I harness clouds with their don’t-blink galleries of faces and gesticulations, and wrap them around mountains made naked by unseasonal rains. I take imaginary photographs of creatures reflected in rippled pools. I scoop up the bleached bones of things that used to prowl or leap, and make towering Lego skeletons. I dress all these in plastic and wire, and shade them with rust and decay.

You might think this is a precarious life, waiting, searching for something to catch my eye, but it isn’t. It isn’t about the object, it is how you see it, and how you relate it to the objects and environment. If you look hard enough, the landscape, in miniature and in entirety, shifts and has a Sybil moment of undiscovered personality. I’m staring, staring, staring. Into skips full of rubble. Curled lines of driftwood and shells which bracket the sea. Landfills and gutters, magpie’s nests and beaver’s dams. And slowly, slowly, slowly… I’m seeing things in a way I have never seen them before. And I’d love it if you could see them, too.

*Disclaimer, for the literally minded: I don’t dig through piles of crap for a living. Nor do I have a house full of rubbish, with crayoned signs labeling it art. Also, I am not calling people trash- this isn’t about a person or people either. This is a metaphor. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. LOL at your disclaimer.
    Are we ever going to see any of these?
    I would photograph it. My knucklehead would want to take it home.


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