I started a new sculpture just a few weeks ago and while I've kept my Instagram sporadically updated, I have neglected to update this blog with the same frequency. The new sculpture is another figurative piece based on an entity found in the oubliette. The origin of the character comes from my journals of nightmares and fever dreams that I have maintained for the majority of my life. I usually write them while still waking from the experience so the notes are often disjointed, sometimes illegible. Sometimes I will sketch the scene if I can't find the words. The notes I used are as follows:
In the labyrinth again - Narrow streets this time, this way and that but not FOLDING in on themselves like before. Some detail.. the walls of the streets are just outlines of buildings as if they are plans for the future. I'm breathless, escaping and everything is so blue! I can feel eyes upon me from above but my neck wont bend. I see deep recesses in the walls that reach on forever but are too small to climb into. I step into a clearing, a courtyard with a small fountain. Cobbled stone. It wasn't there when I entered, now a figure is suspended in mid-air above the fountain (encased in crackling electricity that spits onto the walls of the courtyard). It's flesh reinvents itself over and over and over, smothering itself, freeing itself. [The] head is a revolving wheel of bones, muscles and faces that suddenly snaps in my direction and emits a terrifying, unnatural howl. I fall backwards, crawling towards the nearest street and similar howls echo in reply around me in every direction. Still blue everywhere but now there's orange coming from the wall recesses.
- 23rd March 2013
In this series of images you can see the evolution from the original, failed armature (made last year) alongside the final working armature, to the progress of the sculptures bulk. In addition to documenting the process of each piece, I want to try and document the changes that occur while sculpting. I make the sculptures from memory and the descriptions that I've noted down, so sometimes I can be working on something for a few hours only to scrape it off and find a different way to interpret it. I think these changes, both successful and unsuccessful, are just as important as the final finished piece.
My original interpretation was to have hands pushing out from under the skin, but changed my mind in favour of a straitjacket effect where the arms are bound, broken and useless. The description and visual was less about something trying to escape and more about the cyclical growth and decay of both the body and the mind. I then had a little trouble figuring out how I was going to sculpt arms in the way that I originally saw them, until I took a trip into the world of polish painter Zdzislaw Beksiński. His depiction of emaciated limbs gave me the idea to cure thin lengths of clay, as opposed to using armature wire, to create sturdy but delicate arrangements for the arms without the headache of bending wire into the body.