Friday, August 01, 2014

Studio Daze

For some of these works I was interested in a direct approach to the materials and processes. I felt that because the work would be wood-fired, the surfaces would naturally portray the directness of flame and ash. So I tried, from the beginning, to devise a straightforward way of constructing and shaping the pieces.
When I was around ten years old I became interested in, maybe even a bit obsessed, with puppetry. Although my collection of marionettes grew over the years, Pinocchio, my first puppet, remained my favorite. This was partly due to, I’m sure, the complexities of his character; at once innocent and at the same time a bit of a miscreant. A little liar. Over the years I’ve occasionally utilized Pinocchio in my art as a way to describe contradiction.
From the get-go, I decided to use an aspect of the structure or mechanisms of my puppets in order to construct the work. I used one string [or wire] with a puppeteer’s “control bar” at the end, and starting with a block of clay simply subtracted material.
I borrowed heavily from my sculptural work for many elements of form. Architecture, figure, and spontaneity play important roles. Several of the pieces suggest to me that they are prototypes or maquettes.
Bruce Dehnert. Fire2
Bruce Dehnert. Fire4
Bruce Dehnert.  In progress
Bruce Dehnert.  In progress, studio1
Bruce Dehnert.  In progress, studio2
Bruce Dehnert.  In progress, studio3

Bruce Dehnert.  In progress, studio4

Bruce Dehnert.  In progress, studio7
Bruce Dehnert.  In progress, studio6

In her 1939 essay “The Art of Biography,” Virginia Wolf compared the biographer to that of a miner’s canary, venturing depths and documenting conditions and place, in a tangential manner in which the viewer/reader is then able to follow in the footsteps of the maker.  Art, for me, functions as a journalistic device in which we are able to relish the visual stories that are based on subjective reasoning.

I often invent glaze formulae that will explain something of these firing processes and their effect on materials that melt, crystallize, fuse, drip, or remain stable. I am curious about which elements become obscured and which do not. This surely has something to do with the power of nature to create and destroy, and my approximation, as an artist, of these behaviors in order to elicit an aesthetic experience.

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