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Of Materials & Vision: PRIMITIVE MODERN


These new sculpture pieces are carved from light-weight, autoclave-aerated concrete (AAC). Realizing an inspiration found while on a trip to Australia, and working in full 3-D again has been extremely invigorating! This sculpture series is based upon a concept sketch that I produced the day that we visited the Melbourne Museum in Australia. Exposure to aboriginal, and “island culture” artifacts and sculpture collected by the museums in and around Melbourne prompted the imagery in this sketch.

Shortly after our return from Australia, a friend brought me some samples of the AA concrete to work with, knowing my fascination with the properties of novel materials.  It was fortuitous timing, and encouraged me to begin these pieces right away.

History, Renewed

Given the soft and vulnerable nature of this material, I determined that a surface treatment would be required.  In the harsh world of commercial construction, AAC is usually coated with stucco to seal it from the elements.  From historical references and archeological research, we know that the ancient Greeks used encaustic wax for interior decoration of murals, columns, and sculpture.  Given my passion for vivid contrasts and juxtapositions, the use of modern man-made stone in collaboration with the ancient painting technique of encaustic seemed a natural fit.  Encaustic allows further development of the surface with the introduction of its wonderful translucence, and color layering. 

In the iconography of these sculptures, the ‘breast shelf’, or prehensile breasts of the female figures often holds a symbolic object denoting a ritualized engagement of purpose.