Plywood is an exciting medium to work with because its quite literally a slice of life and a glimpse inside of a beautiful tree. I feel in many ways, my works are collaborations between the tree and myself. I sculpt and paint the piece taking it in the direction that I want to go, while allowing the wood to go in the direction that it naturally would.
But first the raw wood has to be evaluated. I spend a great deal of time looking at the grains, the beauty of the veneer as well as the imperfections. With wood, the grains often tell you what you can not do, rather than what you can. When I get my vision I pick up my tools and begin the work.
Working with plywood is very labor intensive. It takes a very heavy toll on the body and the mind. It has to be deconstructed, sculpted, sanded, patched, sanded again, painted and stained.
The frames are all hand made, packed with an acrylic dirt mixture and then attached to the piece. Finally they have to be blended together with the painted surface around the sides.
A large, 4 foot, wall relief can take up to 3 weeks to complete and when its ready for exhibition, I feel so connected with it that I often find it painful to part with.
My inspiration comes from the elements of nature and the concept of transformation. The work is both figurative and abstract. Figurative in the sense that it represents a geographical area of the earth from an aerial perspective, but on another level, the elemental mechanism that creates the change is abstract.
This is represented by the surface grains of the wood. They appear to advance and recede, reveling themselves only when illuminated from various angles or by different light sources. Light creates a sense of motion, causing the entire look and color of the work to change through out the day.
The frame that surrounds the work is coated with dirt as a reminder of where we come from. It anchors the work to the earth and serves as a bridge between thought and reality.