Tri State Sculptors Association
Promoting public awareness and appreciation for sculpture in the VA, NC, and SC areas
Current profession / employment? Retired
Where are you from originally? How long have you lived in your current location / profession?
I am a native of Conway, SC. I began my art studies in art at Coastal Carolina College; however, I completed a BFA degree at Kent State University and earned an MFA degree in sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis.
I am a retired art professor and retired Dean of the College at Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University. I served as Chair of the Department of Art, Western Illinois University for ten years, and I served as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts, Coastal Carolina University for twelve years. I was a faculty member at CCU for twenty six years. My service to the arts profession includes the following: I was elected to serve as the first President of the Board of Directors (BOD) Horry County Arts and Cultural Events: Elected to the BOD of the National Council of Arts Administrators: Elected to the BOD of the Franklin G. Burroughs and Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC: Elected to the BOD of the College Art Association where I served as - Vice-President of Committees and Chair of the Professional Practices Committee.
I currently live in Myrtle Beach SC after three years of retirement, and I make art from wood, stone, and a variety of other materials.
What is your favorite medium, scale, genre/themes/body of work, etc?
To make meaning or to create a desired shape dictates what my preferred method or medium can be at any one time; however, my current favorite medium is wood. I like the subtractive carving process with wood; however, in order to make connections, and to achieve a particular shape, I will, without hesitation, use additive methods of joining materials together with glue or dowels. I am focused at the moment on making pedestal top size wood work. The tallest work sits atop a 24 inch pedestal and from there is around fifty inches tall. My sculptures range from the fifty inches tall to eighteen inches tall pedestal top work. The majority of my wood forms are an exploration of organic biomorphic abstractions. I am also juxtaposing some geometric elements and forms with the organic in order to explore what types of connections can be made between biomorphic and geometric forms. The surfaces of the wood material is important to me. I am currently working with spalted woods and exploring how the spalting, which occurs naturally, creates naturally beautiful patterns that run throughout the material. I am also using inlays of various materials to help define the sculptural forms or to enhance the forms that I am working with.
With one recent body of work, I responded to a current tragic event by making a sculpture that pulled together elements of my organic biomorphic abstractions with the killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin. While attempting to make meaning of all that happened to George Floyd, the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme came to mind. Seeing George Floyd’s neck and oval shaped head under the knee of officer Chauvin, the Humpty Dumpty broken egg image reminded me of two of my previously made sculptures that I called my Humpty Dumpty series. Typically as a sculptor my works are purely non-objective organic forms, however, I attempted, with a sculptural triptych display, to make an installation that linked the Humpty Dumpty story to what we all witnessed during the killing of George Floyd.
This thematic response to a current event has opened possibilities for new work that will be a combination of organic biomorphic abstractions, juxtaposed with geometric elements of wood stone, and other materials. I will continue to explore the beauty of materials while also seeking ways to make abstract sculptures that are also more thematically accessible and understandable to a general audience.
Who are your sculpture heros/heroines? What inuences your work the most?
Early on it was Richard Hunt's use of non-figurative abstract work that encouraged me to embrace a non-objective geometric style of work. As the years have passed, it is Richard's work ethic and his ability to make bronze and steel seemingly flow that has further influenced my work.
What makes you want to keep on making sculpture / art?
My love of making and shaping wood now keeps me focused and in the studio.
What is your favorite tool?
I have two, a sharp gauge and a shinto rasp.
Do you have a favorite quote, or words of wisdom?
Always remember to keep your sharp tools out of the dish water.