Artist Statement 2006
by Wesley Wofford
I see the artist’s statement as an intellectual window to the artist’s mind (as opposed to a visual window, which is the art itself). I emphasize the latter. Therefore, my intellectual approach to sculpting cannot be summed up in a tidy, unified paragraph or statement. I do, however, have many scattered thoughts on sculpture, art, life, etc. I offer these thought fragments to you as a glimpse into my window.
Sculpting has literally been a physical need for me since clay was introduced to me at six years old. My art is a by-product of this need.
My work seeks to convey a myriad of emotions. I do not presume to dictate what should be felt when my audience views each piece. I believe you can facilitate a direction with the title of the work but the experience must be the viewers.
Forget the shallow stimulation around you. Turn your mind inward. Feel something.
After 10 years of blurring the line between art and reality, I’m not interested in refinement. I want sculpture to be experienced as the act of sculpting, not just the end result of a compositional solution. I want to see tool marks and fingerprints.
Viewing good sculpture should invoke a charged emotional response, like reading poetry or listening to music.
I’m Interested in underlying psychological impulses and universal themes of humanity dealing with being both a higher conscious being, yet fundamentally, an animal.
I find the anticipation of movement more intriguing than action itself: a sculpture not in a state of movement, but one that is about to move.
My sculpture is a by-product of an action that must take place to quell the inward creative impulse and expel raw creative kinetic energy.
Fragments of anatomy are just as moving as a fully realized, highly finished figure. Fragments involve the viewer on an intimate level and inspire imaginative thinking in ways that a full piece can not.
Surface texture defines patina. Prompt the accidents to happen and let the piece take it from there.
Some say the final finish of a sculpture should not distract from the overall form. But as freckles on a face, can figurative sculpture not be finished in a way that doesn’t just accentuate form, but exists only because it is random and beautiful?
A portrait should be a work of art independent of the likeness, a sculpture you would love regardless of visage.
I am looking for something, form and the human form intermixed-lines, balance, man as the larger abstraction.
Humankind has become so desensitized and detached from the things that are most important about being alive. Life has become so much about appointments, responsibilities, etc. that our inner core is lost. In a world overwrought with constant stimulation, most of it frivolous and inane, I wanted to awaken more primal impulses in both myself and others.
I want the viewer to feel the sculptor’s presence as they experience the piece.
The regurgitation of anatomy does not interest me; rather, the translation of anatomy via the filter that is my mind. Go beyond the anatomy to invoke life and the soul within.
Making the shadows speak-finding the right light symbols to stimulate the mind and elicit a response.
I feel contemporary sculpture has become lost in one extreme or the other; lifeless anatomy reproduction or massive abstraction. To me, both are beyond any emotional reach.
“Matter speaks of the spirit, but matter speaks louder than the spirit”.
“We’ll hunt for a third tiger now, but like the others this one too will be a form of what I dream, a structure of words, and not the flesh and bone tiger that beyond all myths paces the earth. I know these things quite well, yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me in this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest, and I go on pursuing through the hours another tiger, the beast not found in verse”.
J. L. Borges
“To laugh often and much: to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“To look life in the face, always to look life in the face, and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then to put it away”.
“The goal of art is not to copy reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity”.
“So many things I didn’t see, with my eyes turned inside. I’ve sung what I was given-some was bad and some was good. I never did know from where it came and if I had it all to do again I am not sure I would play the poet game”.
“Consumerism offers lots of consumer products as a substitute for real experience. Thus it offers lies instead of like and it is a bad fake world constructed upon the real world. It offers nothing but desires that can never be satisfied”.
“A beautiful soul has no other merit than its own existence”.
Friedrich von Schiller
“Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth, like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many; they are few!”
Percy B. Shelley
“If you’re not afraid of dying, then you’re not really living”.
Auguste Rodin, Gustav Vigland, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Gutzon Borglum, Daniel Chester French, Frederick MacMonnies, Emile Antoine Bourdelle, Malvina Hoffman, Henry Moore