CONTACT: BY HAND GALLERY
My show CONTACT, is featured at By Hand Gallery from June 1st—July 31st, 2018. This exhibit is a new body of work. Most pieces are of forged and fabricated steel with some glass elements. One, Snake Goddess: Circle of Life (Minoa), is hand-carved limestone. I’ve included here my artist’s statement which tries to codify in several paragraphs what is involved in my creative process.
What is local and immediate is what draws me in. The flora and the fauna, the birds and the insects— particularly, the ways the florae germinate, grow, and decline and the creatures’ behavior as they court, mate, and migrate. I study and draw movements or passages and respond particularly to how their physical forms metaphorically project growth, transition, and adaptation—all which archetypally represent our human condition.
These concepts must then be translated into steel and glass, which by necessity require simplification and abstraction. My processes involve heating raw, industrial steel to 2000 degrees. I then use whatever strength I can muster to hammer, twist, and bend it into new forms. Each heat allows for up to 90 seconds of hammering over anvils or stakes or into hollows in tree stumps before it must be put back into the fire. The material is muscular and recalcitrant; its natural molecular structure resists synclastic and anticlastic movement. The irony of an old gal set in her ways, pounding and pleading the iron to shift into a softer, organic form is not lost on me. Our psychological constructs—those both in the light and in the shadow, seem calcified in our bones and shift or change only with tremendous effort. That is both my subject and my process and I hope that the viewer will take the journey with me.
Michal Ann Carley