After exploring a number of styles, approaches, and media during my formative years, undergraduate work, and study abroad, the form and content of my art became focused in the late 1960’s. Study of Native American and other “non-Western” art led me to create objects and environments that functioned to unify bonds between peoples. My sculptures were used in social contexts to celebrate and record events such as weddings, partings, gatherings, and important public events such as Earth Day in 1971. That the visual arts have been used since the beginning of human history to ritually actualize and enhance humanistic growth continues to guide my work.
The (then) pristine natural environment of New Mexico, with its dramatic relationship of earth and sky, inspired earth castings and solar-aligned, site-specific works. They have been presented as discrete objects, permanent architectural-scale sculpture, and temporary gallery installations. They often indicate the cardinal directions, and the solar rising/setting points of our sun on the horizon at Equinoxes and Solstices. Shared perceptions of these celestial phenomena can create a sense of wonder, unity, and a shared appreciation of our place within an infinite cosmos.
Moving to New England in 1976, the dynamic interface of land and sea was the primary content of my work. Beach castings and floor “scrolls” from the intertidal zone were presented in gallery installations. Sculptural elements were often aligned with cardinal points on the horizon outside of the galleries, encouraging viewers to project their “perceptions” to distant places. Some installations included time-based performance works, in which participants directed sunbeams from window apertures in the galleries. Orienting viewers to larger systems to enhance a sense of place, and presenting familiar natural processes in new contexts, have remained consistent currents in all of my work.
My concern over the deepening worldwide environmental crisis, heightened by helping raise two children who will inherit it, led to the creation of Adventure to Eco Earth: Eco Animals. Co-authored with my wife, Lisa Gray Fisher, the sci-fi fantasy imagines creatures that have evolved green technological attributes to reverse Climate Change and other environmental problems. It is available on Apple iBook and for Amazon Kindle. The eBook is illustrated with digital composites incorporating my earlier pen and ink drawings.
Recent small sculptures in bronze expand the range of imaginary animals, invent cosmological deities and suggest new celestial phenomena. Others reinterpret Classical mythology and comment on art-historical issues. Many will be 3-D printed and enlarged for future exhibition.
All of the conceptual and theoretical directions above have continued to evolve through a wide variety of media. They include earth castings in plaster, bronze, and glass, permanent site-specific sculpture in concrete, steel, brass, mixed media gallery installations, and series of discrete sculptures in fired clays and fabricated architectural artifacts. Since the beginning, my work has also included prints and drawings. “Multiplicity of form, unity of concept” is a guiding paradigm in all of my art.
I am also committed to the continuing evolution of form and content in all of the arts, and their potential to affect positive change in individuals and society. It seems critical that the context and function of art in culture also be continually explored, challenged and expanded for the betterment of humankind, our home planet, and all of its inhabitants.