When I first moved to Vermont from DC in 1987, I had a small inheritance. I used it to buy a few large pieces of Indiana limestone and had it shipped east. Over the course of the next 2 years I worked on various stones but concentrated on ONE WORLD. As a young man in my late 30’s it was a thoroughly invigorating challenge to approach a large block of stone. It was a demanding job but I loved the physicality and athletically creative project of intertwining these 2 tusk/sprout-like shapes. My organic work really started when I moved to a rural place where I lived next to a creek, heated with a wood stove and came to understand what indigenous meant in my heart. Even though I still believe in the truth of our one world, as climate issues bond people around the world ever more so, over the course of the last 30 years the ways of our world have illustrated how our world is a fragmented place. For me this piece represents the ever, ever redundancy of the fecundity of the life process.
This carving tries to incorporate the industry involved in removing stones of this size from the ground. The old quarry method of cutting stone was by using drilling rods which left the markings on this stone. Nowadays, stone is cut with diamond tipped chain saws, an astronomical leap from the rod technique. In this stone there is a lyricism of the quarry rod lines that give some kind of humanity to the gaping opening of the parent stone. The zooid is “an animal arising from another by budding or division, especially each of the individuals that make up a colonial organism”. (dictionary quote). I really enjoyed the process of carving the buddings emerging from this stone. UCONN/Avery Point campus by the LI Sound focuses on Marine Biology…
This piece captures my sense of working through my own depression and then having the capacity to see the light within myself and in the world. It is currently at the UCONN/Avery Point campus south of Groton, CT and it’s placed in a spot so that the lighthouse in the Long Island Sound is visible through it. In retrospect, the shape evokes an owl consciousness and its night life. The lighthouse is seen in the ONE WORLD and GADZOOIDS photos.
In 1992, after I had established my studio in an abandoned building at the old Vermont Marble Company quarry property in West Rutland, I put this sculpture together with the lovely fluted base stone, the tree trunk and the sensuously carved stone emerging from the wood. The process of making choices for this sculpture showed me how to integrate diverse materials and opened me up to using the industrial detritus left from the active quarry days. By virtue of having set myself up at the forsaken quarry building and capitalizing on its quiet, solitude and cast off treasures this piece initiated my emergence into the most creative and productive period of my career
This sculpture was a labor of love. I used a point chisel to shape the surface (2x over the years) and recessed the flat tops to accept the bronze torches. Inside the bronzes are tanks filled with kerosene and 7-1″ wicks. The kero makes a beautiful flame. The sculpture is meant to honor indigenous peoples whose life energies are symbolized with the flames for their very long efforts to bring us along to our present time.
One of my best carvings in that it shows the different stages of working a stone…the splitting process in the base stone, what the stone looks like on its inside when not chiseled, and how it looks chiseled and how it feels to the touch when it has been endlessly sanded. Both the Black Champlain stone which was quarried from Isle La Motte in Lake Champlain and the Tennessee Pink are limestones that are harder than most marbles and both ping and ring when carved. Both these stones show the fossils in their rough interior forms and their smoothed appearances. The simplicity of the snake/worm-like shape pleased my sense of the mystery of the daimon’s “guiding spirit” within the act of creation.
This sculpture is autobiographical in that I grew up in Brooklyn and spent time hanging out during my youth sitting on stoops…the bottom stone is from the West Rutland quarries where I was inspired with its beautiful stone. The broken tread with paint left on it represents my broken family life and the frayed cable connotes my efforts to grow out of that history…
I had been reading Jeffrey M. Smith’s book SEEDS OF DECEPTION about the dangers of genetically modified foods. I shaped the soft West Rutland stone into a seed-like shape then drilled 3 holes clear through the stone. Years ago I had collected many old twisted re-bars from a sidewalk project in Providence, RI. As it turned out, by tilting the stone on any 2 of the rods and altering the length of the 3rd rod the position of the sculpture shifts; it can tilt left or right, as well as up in pic or downward. I felt that it depicted the notion of altering food through GMO’s. When I discovered that Monsanto had provided a false sense of prosperity to farmers in India who invested heavily in equipment, went into debt, then in despair over crops not producing as promoted, a couple hundred thousand of those indigenous farmers committed suicide; that sorrow motivated me to create the sculpture. A very sad unintended consequence of the GMO business.
The plaque that goes with the sculpture has this quote by Susan Sontag: “All understanding begins with not accepting the world as it appears.” 4 words are carved on the stone…KICK…ROCK…VERY…HARD. The notion being that if you follow the dictate of the title you’ll most likely have a problem. The buddha said to follow your own common sense regardless of what he might have said, I agree. Lots of folks break something within themselves when following outside directives…in this case if one kicks the stone inappropriately and with unconscious force one will break his foot…as it turned out, I was involved in a rollover accident (without injury) and the KICK ROCK stone came out looking like someone had kicked a chunk out of it…just perfect!
The marble has an egg in the center of a cross that is shifting into a swastika shape. The angle iron was purchased from an steel company whose owner had numbers tattoed on his left forearm, meaning that he had been in a concentration camp during WWII. On one of the pieces of angle iron I left the crayon number codes to honor his suffering and time incarcerated. The notion here is that some forms of fundamentalist Christianity have within them the seeds of extremism that may be surfacing now.
When I traveled through Indiana in the mid 90’s I stopped in Oolitic, Indiana, near Bloomington, where there are massive beds of my favorite stone, Indiana limestone. There are piles of waste stone the size of boxcars! I love this stone for its oily odor that comes from the fossils as they are crushed by a chisel going through it. I love it for its beige color. I love it for its warmth. And I love it because it’s soft enough to fashion into a smooth sensuous tactility. It seemed quite appropriate to use it for my depiction of life’s beginnings
This is one of my favorite carvings because of the dark grey stone and the uniqueness of shape and inspiration…both sides of these fantastical mating creatures have polyps/eggs/seeds ready to be “born” into the world. I love this small very effortful carving because of its dark veining smooth top and the fine point work that contrasts with the top surface. I can imagine a digital film depicting these creatures being diaphanous, loaded with polyps separate from each other, swimming vertically and shooting their ployps out into the water the way the gelatinous coral beds propel their polyps…
A terrific carving with a very hard piece of Danby stone that took a long time to accomplish. It’s one of my favorite works. I really love this piece and because it’s at my home sitting in a safe place on the floor by the window, my 4 y.o. grandson Brody climbs on it all the time and decorates it with his different childhood trinkets. It fills me with joy watching some of my life work being a part of his young life and it takes the seriousness out of the hard work that I put into this piece, plus I love the notion of polyps emerging into life, that is one form of procreation.
I titled this Tennessee Pink limestone sculpture “Coalescence” because the entire carving is coalesced with the rough edge running the course of the both sides, the top and the bottom; I felt that this work captured the quality of my life coming together on many levels in 2007. It’s so sensuous and tactile to touch; I wish you could too…
This mollusk-like creature has a band around its “neck”. It is responding to climate issues as it gasps and moans for breath. I’m very pleased with this primordial carving and having carved it, though an odd thing, I’m convinced it is a “great” work of art (of course in my opinion). Someday, should this sculpture still be around, after the entrancement with the spectacular of which my work is the opposite, in so far that my work is usually a part of the scenery, it will be venerated for its authenticity and craftsmanship.
As is often the case, we stone sculptors collect and hoard stones for years before an idea gets clarified to start a project. This carving of a dark grey West Rutland stone gave me deep satisfaction the way the smooth darkness of the triangular shapes stand out from the markings of the point chisel and how it represents my synthesis of a Jungian quaternary of personality and a buddhist three sided notion of joy and enlightenment.
The last time I was on a plane was when I flew to St. John in the Virgin Islands. I was there from February through April 2001. In this Danby stone wall piece that hangs by studio entrance, I stylized the primitive Taino Indian petroglyph that I saw in an obscure location on the island. I’ve included it because it shows a wonderful contrast of Danby stone when it is sanded smooth and the marks from pneumatic toothed stone chisels. Personally, I think it represents 2 joined snakes protecting the entrance to its nest. The serpent is such a poignant symbol for all primitive people since the beginning of human time, and this sculpture is my effort to express my natural affinity for indigenous people and honoring them for making possible our remarkable lives in our time.
I gave this piece to a buddhist organization to be exhibited for blind people to feel its intricacy. Nearby my home here in Rutland, Vermont, there is an athletic field about 800 feet by 400 feet. A few winter’s back after a decent snow storm, I walked this pattern into the snow, so I decided to carve it. It was quite complicated and time consuming and exquisitely successful (to me). It is my hope that its caduceus-like shaping provides a sense of healing with its tactile wonderfulness.
This is my best sculpture. It captures the essence of Tennessee Pink limestone which is the grey veining that permeated the stone. I carried the main stone around for 15 years before it became clear to me what it was to become. The small base stone was part of my stone collection and coincidentally, its grey vein just about perfectly fit with the main stone allowing me to carve the vein to flow from the front base stone up through the main stone and out through the rear of the base stone. To me, though a small carving, it is the apogee of my stone carving career because it encapsulates organic integrity beyond the virtuosity of rendering an object as visualized!
Detail of grey vein passing from stone out through the base.