Stone is a harsh mistress. It will humble the proudest sculptor. A cold, hard, elemental beauty, such stuff as worlds are made of... The stuff of the Earth. The stuff of other worlds. The entire drama of human life in all its heroic folly is played out on a stage of stone. And when the final curtain falls, when actor and audience depart, stone is all that remains.
Hope granite, 7' high, Ki'mchon, Korea. Located in the K'imchon Sculpture Park, next to a children's hospital.
Peace Table granite, 14' high. Located at the United Nations Korean War Memorial Park in Pusan, Korea. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Korean War. One artist from each of the 22 countries involved in the conflict was invited to make a work to commemorate the war. I represented the United States. The North Koreans and Chinese were not invited... pity... It would have been an interesting symposium if the other side had been there as well...
Islands in the Stream marble, 6' high, Carrara, Italy. A map of the heavens. Title from Hemingway.
Eno River Landscape painted steel and river pebbles collected from the Eno River, 9' high. Tribute to the Eno River, spiritual home to us "river rats". Part of a series of works that combine river pebbles with welded steel to represent specific landscapes. Any irony derived from the combination of natural and industrial materials is purely intentional.
Cherokee painted steel and stone, 9' high. Homage to the Cherokee people. Stones gathered from creeks in Smoky Mountains. Design based on motifs from traditional Cherokee gourd art.
Sei Carrara marble, 7' long. Fukuhara Gakuen University, Kitakyushu, Japan. Sei is a japanese word meaning birth, life, nature or manufactured product.
Genesis granite and painted steel, 7' high. A metaphor for cosmic creation.
Jurassic Forest Steel and river pebbles
The air exhaled by the sculptor walking in the forest sustains the tree he will later carve. And the wood carved by the sculptor came from the tree that once gave him oxygen. We are part of the same system, trees and people, connected by shared air.
Sea Child camphor wood, 6' high. Based on an argonaut shell brought to my feet by wind and waves during a typhoon on a beach in western Japan.
The Architect's Dream (front and back) camphor wood, 4' long.
Urban Man camphor wood 5' 6" high. A smaller figure can be seen sitting Buddha-like in the work's hollowed interior.
Son of a Gun red oak, 4' high. A response to the insane gun laws in America......The expression "son of a gun" comes from the days of the square riggers when sailors slept in hammocks slung between cannons below deck. When the ships were at anchor, wives and girlfriends came on board and stayed below with their menfolk. Any sailor born from such a union came to be called a "son of a gun."
Venus camphor wood, life-size. Destroyed in the 2005 Kyushu earthquake.
The Sound of Waves wood and beach pebbles, 22" long
The Sea's Birthday wood and beach pebbles, 7' (2 m) long. Title from a poem my wife wrote as a child.
Fairy Ring Japanese cedar and wood chips. About 20" in diameter (6 m). Kyushu Prefecture Art Museum. The wood chips came from the carving process. I saved these logs from the construction company that cut down an entire forest and subsequently ground the forest into pulp.
Mythological Landscape camphor wood, 30" long (76 cm)
Each material has its own unique set of associations, a fact not often acknowledged by Modernism's focus on form and the Postmodern emphasis on content. Steel and bronze are industrial products, with longstanding associations with machines, war and masculinity (think engines, bullets, Samurai swords). The sculptor can choose to evoke these associations or use them ironically, but cannot ignore them.
The Tree of Good and Evil a Biblical metaphor for our ambivalent relationship with technology.
Night steel and bronze, 9' high. A chronicle of the Sixth Extinction from about 40,000 ago to the present. Species already extinct (including mammoths, moas, dodos, Tasmanian tigers, etc.) are on the left side. Currently endangered animals (monarchs, elephants, cheetahs, etc.) are on the right. On top are the baiji dolphins of China, the most recent large mammal to be extinguished by humans (2007). Biologists predict 50% of all species alive in the 20th century will be extinct or critically endangered by the end of this century ...
The Geometer's Gate painted steel, 10' high (3.1 m) An homage to those creative minds from Euclid to Einstein who reshaped our understanding of time and space ...
Brave New Worlds Steel and cast bronze and aluminum, 10' high. The biosphere transformed into the technosphere. "O brave new world, that has such creatures in it!"
Babel steel, 8' high. Figures within the city can be seen prostrating themselves in prayer before a giant cell phone... Do cities grow organically from nature like a tree or are cities built on the dead stumps of a ruined nature?
Garden of Night steel on wood, 6' high
Stranger in a Strange Land steel and bronze, 7' high. A future Moses wandering a wasted ecosystem where technology has run amok. Another figure can be seen inside the sculpture, arms raised in supplication toward the heavens .....
St. Elmo powder coated steel, 15' high, Chattanooga, TN, 2014. A history of Chattanooga from Pre-Columbian times through the Trail of Tears, the rise of slavery, the Civil War and to the present. The figures are gas welded steel (no bronze).
Ark painted steel, 8' high. This work can be interpreted in one of two ways: As a metaphor for our role as the stewards, the captains (the "Noahs") of Ark Earth. The work can also be seen in a darker light: a preview of a future when either because of war or environmental devastation, we are compelled to build a space ark and colonize other worlds, carrying with us those plants and animals necessary for our survival.
Under a Starry Sky bronze, 10' diameter Fine Arts College, Shanghai. One night on planet Earth.
Wheel of Life bronze and painted steel, 8' high (2.5 m). The evolution of technology into increasingly more destructive expressions. Civilization is destroyed. A new civilization rises from the ashes. The karmic cycle continues.
High Rise 9' high (2.7 m) steel and bronze. The city defined: 1. a cultural hub of near constant sensory stimulation, intellectual exchange and movement 2. The soaring towers that indicate the presence of civilization 3. The domicile of Homo urbanus 4. The source of our spiritual and psychological disconnect from nature 5. A cancerous growth on the face of the Earth...
Driving to the Western Paradise bronze, 7' (2 m without base). Changshou Park, Shanghai. A sardonic commentary on the Chinese mad rush to emulate western-style capitalism. The Chinese government, not pleased with the sculpture's message, changed the title (after I'd left the country) to something less politically charged.... China's elite are eager to imitate the West's lust for profit but not its democratic ideals nor its freedom of expression ....
Car Monsters 7' high (2 m) steel and bronze
Clay is magic... alive... primeval. Limited only by gravity (and the artist's imagination), in skilled hands it becomes an embryonic fluid that gives birth to form, transforming mud into masterpiece. Is it any wonder that ceramicists are invariably mystics?
Traditionally, clay has been the preferred material for sketching ideas in three dimensions and an intermediary stage for casting. But alas, ceramic sculpture is inherently fragile and thus, not well suited for public art. Ceramic pieces, in my experience, all too often become pieces of ceramics.
Nagasaki unglazed stoneware, 16" high. Portrait of the artist's wife whose family was in Nagasaki before, during and after the bombing. Was it necessary to end a war by killing tens of thousands of woman and children? What does that make the victors?
The Sons of Martha stoneware 5' 6" high. Destroyed by Hurricane Fran in 1996.
Babylon 7' high terracotta. Terracotta Sculpture Park for Andalou University, Eskisehir, Turkey.
Maid in Babylon painted clay 2' high.
Technozoic Lizard 40" long
Lizard Car 16" long
From ancient Greece to modern times thinkers have wasted a lot of verbiage debating the relative merits of painting versus sculpture. Both have advantages and both have disadvantages. But they are as different as poetry and music and are therefore, hard to compare. For me, painting is a way to relax, an escape from the blood, sweat and toil of working stone and steel.
The Light in the Forest oil on canvas 22" x 26"
High Tide oil on canvas, 3'x 4', Inspired by the song The Icecaps Are Melting by Tiny Tim.
Yama oil on canvas, 25"x 35"
Sphinx oil on canvas 4' x 4' (unfinished)
Trees and Monkeys oil on canvas, 5' long. A view of the forest of Yakushima, Japan, one of most beautiful and largely pristine landscapes left in Japan.
Voyage oil on canvas 4'x5', A visual metaphor for the artist's journey.
Lost and Found oil on canvas, 2'x 3', An old work. Title from Tchelitchew.
PRINTS and DRAWINGS
Drawing is the most ancient of the arts. Most of the so-called Paleolithic cave paintings are in fact charcoal drawings. One can imagine some Stone Age Adam or Eve scratching lines in the dirt with a finger and pondering the meaning of the marks. More than any other medium, save perhaps clay, drawing offers an immediate and direct connection between mind, hand and artwork. It's an activity we've all been doing since childhood. In that sense, we are all artists.
By contrast, printmaking is a more indirect process. One must construct in metal or wood or some other suitable material, a plate or template for making multiple copies. Over time, I've become less interested in complex chemical processes such as etching, in favor of the simplicity of woodcuts and drypoint.
Emergence woodcut, 15" x 18"
Moon Garden color pencil and pastels, 18" x 24"
Eve woodcut,15" x 18"
Citified mixed media, 18" x 30"
Tower of Babel color pencil, 16" x 24"
Genesis etching, 11" x 18", Genetically engineered superfish ....
The Magic Dolphin The story of two kids who rescue a dolphin caught in a fishing net. The grateful dolphin rewards the kids by taking them around the world, teaching them along the way about global warming, beach erosion and other environmental issues relating to the sea...
Lessons from the Sand (published by UNC Press) a beach science activity book for families with kids.
Also included on this page are illustrations and some political cartoons.
(published 2018) Available on Amazon.com.
Cover for Lessons from the Sand, published by UNC Press, 2016. A beach science activity book for kids and their parents.
Night Journey (from The Magic Dolphin)
Shell Collectors from The Magic Dolphin (Chapter 1: Make a Wish)
Island of the Blue Butterflies (from the Magic Dolphin)
Lions Feasting on a Whale (from the Magic Dolphin)