A FEW WORDS ABOUT MY WORK
My output of sculpture over the last forty years can be divided roughly into three catagories: large mechanical sculptures and the Hardware Series including long time investigations into tensile structures; pure form planar studies and the Folded Plane Series; and quasi-figurative works up to life-size scale. These categories are not mutually exclusive, but rather allow for overlap of ideas and influence from each other.
In 1961, while a student at San Jose State University, I built my first foundry studio in order to cast my graduate studies work. I built the necessary furnaces and equipment and worked out the technical challenges of casting bronze by the lost wax process. This resulted in the numbered works up to number #101. These works are all of a lyrical/mathematical nature. They are dedicated investigations of pure form and composition.
In 1964, I built the second foundry studio in Morgan Hill and developed equipment to handle more expansive lost wax bronze casting, larger sand casting and positive displacement casting of aluminum. This allowed expansion of my artistic investigations. From this period, 1964-1968, come the large aluminum disk/medalions, cast aluminum mechanical sculptures, refined planar studies and the #300 Folded Plane Series cast in bronze.
In the academic year of 1968-1969, I started teaching full time at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California and moved my foundry studio to Corralitos. After my Chinese/Japanese exhibit of 1978, which showed a marked response to study of Asian art history in preparation for a return trip to Japan and Korea, I commenced work on the Hardware Series. It continued to be my primary focus for over fifteen years. Though during this same period, the 300 Folded Plane Series (#307,308,311,312) began in 1968 and kept building.
All the pieces in the Hardware Series present the observer with implied function, interchangeability of parts and all use a basic shackle form. These reflect, I'm sure, my experiences working with farm machinery in my teenage years, experiences working in a steel mill, and time spent while in the U.S. Navy, on the San Francisco Bay with crash boats, small craft, crane barges and two years on a cargo ship in the Pacific Theater working deck machinery and cargo booms. My intention with this group of works was to produce pieces which look real, seem plausible, even look familiar - to come as close to accepted reality as possible. But these pieces are not real, at least not in the sense of actually functioning; they are made of wax and cast in bronze. They are all illusion. I am attempting to involve the viewer in a game - that somehow if you just look long enough at these pieces, you'll remember their use or how they worked. These sculptures are unique, they are one of a kind pieces. There are no reproduction molds except as indicated in editions, and the basic shackle form which is replicated in order to make the series consistent within itself.
Next came the Italian Suite, which continues to today. This is a large group of pieces directly related to a trip to Itay in 1986. Here the shackle becomes more of a metaphor connecting itself to particular places and concepts. Italy in its quiet and seductive manner changed me forever. As a young art student I had studied art history and in my personal life I had always loved grand opera, expecially the Italian works. But all of this was one step removed, I just hadn't realized it. When I arrived in Italy it was like coming home. All of a sudden, I was walking through art history on a daily basis. I was able to spend days in museums and churches communing with my heros in art, -Michelangelo, Bernini, Fra Angeico, among others. I could hear Verdi coming out of the earth and was even able to visit his birth place and his farm. While dining one evening in Spoleto, my wife and I were told by the waiter of an opera performance. We rushed over to the wonderful old opera house, in time to enjoy a delightful Donezetti opera. While we stayed in Pietrasanta, days were spent exploring marble quarries above Carara and visiting local stone working studios. Pietrasanta is a city primarily dedicated to the making of sculpture. It is alive with the activities and interactions of Italian and foreign sculptors.
When I returned to my studio in California, my sculpture needed to expand in scope. There was now a need for more intense color, additional materials and a lightness of spirit. So the shackle was employed in connecting marble, granite, plexiglass, perforated aluminum plate, stainless steel, large nuts and bolts were utilized to assist the illusion. Places, artists, humor, whimsy, great flights of fancy were all included.
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