While creating my most recent body of work, CONTAIN, I made a conscious decision to title each sculpture in a way that was minimally informative. This stemmed from my desire to give the viewer a chance to develop their own idea or story behind each piece. My creative process is to allow the medium I'm working with to guide me to an end result without any preconceived notion of what the final outcome may be. Each of these sculptures is an open-ended idea and I would use my imagination to envision the story behind each piece. During the creation process, a narrative would slowly develop in my mind as I sought to determine what each sculpture meant to me. When I felt a sculpture was complete, I would then come up with a name that reflected my personal interpretation of the work. But I didn't want a title to influence the viewer's perception of what they saw so I kept that name to myself. Instead, I simply titled each piece Box Sculpture thus allowing the viewer to also see the work as an open-ended idea and give them an opportunity to make up their own story, if they wanted to.
This got me thinking further: Why is it so important to me that I allow the viewer to come to their own conclusion regarding what each sculpture means?
When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was to lie underneath the large maple tree in my front yard and look up into its branches. When the tree was without leaves I would see all kinds of interesting shapes within the negative space created by the intersecting branches. I would stare at these shapes and they would slowly become recognizable forms, a rabbit or a face, and I would create a story in my mind about what they were doing. I could spend hours letting my mind wonder just looking up into that tree. It was very relaxing. And it was also a lot fun.
You know, making stuff up is really, really fun.
Right now I'm creating new sculptures that I call Unidentified Metal Objects (UMOs). These pieces are all about making stuff up. I want the viewer to be actively involved in determining the story behind each sculpture. Below is an image of my latest creation.
What I want to know is:
What is it?
Where did it come from?
What does it do?
I'm hoping you would like to help me figure that out. Give it a try - make something up. Trust me, it's really fun.