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All of the found objects here are personal artifacts, stuff in my life that lingers. Building sculptures around them gives them a context.   

I'm interested in how we come to decide something is worth keeping. This question seems particularly relevant to the endeavor of the artist, as one committed to making things that retain some kind of value.

I work with traditional Shaker furniture forms, though I take liberties with these forms that the Shakers would not. At the height of their movement, the Shakers (formally known as The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) endeavored to make objects of spiritual and aesthetic value. Functional and pared down, they searched for a visual language that could receive their angels from above.   

I do not relate to the spiritual views of the Shakers. They interest me in that, through their work, they became responsible for some of the fundamentals of contemporary object making, such as the invention of the circular saw. Their furniture is still highly regarded and collected, and they are often referred to as the first minimalists.

Their communal sensibilities informed much of their craft. Many of their objects were designed to hang on a wall-mounted peg system that they attached directly to the framing of their buildings. The way in which an individual object existed amongst other things was premeditated. Their deep investment in the labor of object making, a labor that is either removed or outsourced by many contemporary artists and makers, seems an important vantage point to understanding how we relate to objects. 

Additionally, I am interested in the shifting context that time brings to these kept objects. The silicone rubber embeds them in a contemporary substance normally used to reproduce objects through mold making. The color palette and textures of these synthetic materials marks their place in time — they are not specifically ancient or traditional, but also not immediate. These sculptures sit at the interstice of art object, domestic object, and personal artifact.

—written by Stephen Eakin

 

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