Cut the prayer-hand


the air

with the eye-


lop its fingers off

with your kiss:


Now a folding takes place

that takes your breath away


-Paul Celan



Destroyer is the name of my show that will go up in August at the Greg Kucera Gallery, and run through September.

 I’ve often noticed during the course of making a carving that the pieces of wood I cut off and throw away are often every bit as good as the parts I save. The distance between the ‘waste’ and the ‘art’ is often the thickness of a saw blade. This observation has led me to make a body of work where rather then separating the scrap from the sculpture, as I usually do, I have instead kept them joined. The juxtaposition of conscious choice next to unconscious consequence has become the conceptual starting point for the work.

 By plunge cutting sections out of the blocks with a chainsaw, and then carving a series of chains at one end, the limbs are articulated out in one piece. I wanted there to be a sense of freedom or even abandon in the limbs, even as they remained chained to their heavily rooted cores. The freedom they have engineered is real enough, as are the limits that they are literally attached to.

 There is always the feeling when I carve of being caught in a landslide, as the dust and shavings fall. Learning to ride a wave of potential disaster not only successfully, but gracefully, requires figuring out how to choose the least worst path along the way. For this reason, carving seems to illustrate very clearly both entropy, where complex systems break down, and serendipity, where good fortune is culled out of an uncontrollable set of circumstances.

 In a similar fashion, who we start out being isn’t exactly who we are in the end. But who we end up being depends on what we have to work with at the beginning. The entropic process of our own breaking down is tempered by our ability to manage the serendipity of the fall. We are our own work in progress. This work documents the hopefulness, inventiveness, and the violence, of that process.

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Reader Comments (1)

Hi, Dan, its me again, still appreciating the insights you advance in
this piece on gallery art via private art. Although the audiences for both are, in your words, "uncomprehending," gallery goers are "sympathetic" and, relatively knowledgeable. Is this another instance of the huge gap in our culture between the interests of the (relatively) well off and well educated versus those of an ordinary person to whom "culture" is a complete mystery? No wonder in either venue "art is hard!" At what intersection of interests/attention is it possible for an artist to foster a conversation on the value of Public Art (other than the immediate and financial benefit of enabling the artist to make art.) During a competition for a new piece, the artist can (and I'm sure you do) describe eloquently how art can speak to all of us. But other than the tours of public art run by the Seattle Architectural Foundation, (again with a self selected audience) where does an ordinary person ever encounter the really interesting, challenging, questions art can raise when it isn't being cute or repetitious or just plain incomprehensible.. For example, when you describe your new show as happening in the "juxtaposition of conscious choice and unconscious consequence," you are tapping into an essential truth of human that we rarely confront! Not to mention that "who we start out being isn't exactly who we are in the end."

Many thanks, Dan, for capturing so many fascinating parallels in a single blog entry. Please do keep on writing....and looking for ways to talk about art to more janitors and property managers!

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristie

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