Catherine Burgess   Recent Sculpture

January 8, 1983 - January 30, 1983

For six years until spring 1981, I worked exclusively in wood, in the constructed manner; that is to say, adding elements together, building the piece rather than carving away at a block or modelling with the hands. The property of wood which excited me most and which I exploited in my work was density, so therefore the pieces were mainly about solid mass. I did, however, begin to notice a counterfeit quality emerging in the finished pieces: they looked either as though they hadn’t been carved or as though they should have been carved. I felt I had to make a choice, to change the way I approach wood entirely, to start carving, or to change materials altogether. I chose to work with welded steel. In sculpture, steel is the material of the twentieth century. It is best for making constructed sculpture because it is incredibly strong and can be joined and cut quickly and easily. Unlike wood, it can be very thin, linear and delicate without looking fragile. The scrap steel which I use is rich in shapes and forms which often suggests way of using it.

In these recent works shape has taken on a new importance, there is a greater variety of form, and although less volumetric they are still structurally coherent. They are open, more wilful and playful and more sure of themselves.

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