Senior Exhibition 2014 Gallery

 

Title

Hogback

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Creation Date

2014

Description

Materials: Wood, Cotton, and Resin

Dimensions: 75 x 37 x 57"

Project Advisor: Rob Neilson

Year of Graduation: 2014

Medium

Sculpture

Artist Statement

My sculptures are a conglomeration of references. But these references are rarely presented in their original forms; I stretch lines and shapes, manipulate scale, and change contexts to hide my influences in plain sight. To me, what a sculpture is made out of is just as important as the form that it takes. Not only are some materials more practically suited for a specific purpose—some are better at conveying certain abstract concepts. Like imagery and visual symbols, any given material is attached to its own set of connotations. In my work I often experiment and create new materials that are made to communicate the exact concepts that I want to convey to the viewer.

Hogback is inspired by Tim Severin’s book The Brendan Voyage. In the late-1970s, Severin built and sailed a medieval vessel from Ireland to Newfoundland in a venture to lend historical legitimacy to the Latin text Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis. This epic recounts St. Brendan’s legendary expedition across the Atlantic to North America before the year 900 AD. Severin’s boat, Brendan, was recreated from medieval designs and built using traditional materials and techniques. It had an ash and oak internal frame and a hull of tanned ox hides sealed with lanolin. Brendan’s wooden skeleton and stretched leather skin made it look like an animal and the wool grease made it smell like one too. On the sea, Brendan behaved like something alive, flexing and breathing with the swelling waves beneath it. In the book, as Severin and his crew rounded the Icelandic coastline, they looked over the stern to find their boat leading a pod of whales who had taken it to be one of their own. While working on another ship-related sculpture (Strake 2013), The Brendan Voyage made me see boats and animals as existing on a single spectrum.

The title Hogback is a reference to a unique variety of Viking grave markers only found in the United Kingdom. These carved stone monuments resemble the curved arc of a spine as well as the pitched roof of a Scandinavian style house or the keel of an overturned boat. Hogbacks represent a place on the spectrum somewhere between human and natural—the fusing of the inanimate and the animate. I only became aware of the existence of these monuments after beginning the project that would come to bear their name.

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Copyright for this work is held by the artist.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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