Lament is one of my most recent and exciting installations where I used the chainsaw to bring out the emotive elements in my artistic statement. Currently, the 3-piece installation is on exhibit at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C. and will be through the end of 2014.
My daughter Mika discussed with me Lament's origin and future purpose of the work. Below is our conversation:
MB: What is the title of this work?
EB: This piece is called Lament.
MB: What are the origins of the three trunks in Lament's composition?
EB: When searching for wood in rural Virginia, I discovered a fascinating trunk which unlike most red oaks, was not growing vertically, but rather making a huge arc along the ground growing skyward. This trunk was so extraordinary, I eagerly pursued procuring it for a future work even though I didn't know what I was going to do with this particular bent piece.
By the time I got the bent trunk to my studio, I realized the trunk had within it the theme of grief.
It took several years for me to realize that this extraordinary arched trunk should be part of a composition of three. The largest of the three trunks in Lament I found at the top of a pile of "junk wood" ready to be burned by a mill in Virginia. I gladly saved this large trunk before its fate.
MB: These trunks are larger than those you have used previously. Is it difficult to work with trunks in such a monumental scale?
EB: I always work on the ground where the material is easily accessible to the use of my tools. For me, there is very little difference between large trunks and extra large trunks. I have what is needed in my studio to handle material that weighs up to 5 tons and have yet to encounter any problems when working with trunks of this scale.
MB: What do you plan to do with Lament once The Lure of the Forest exhibit at the Kreeger Museum concludes?
EB: Upon the exhibit's conclusion at the Kreeger, I would like to plan a traveling show that would allow Lament to have a national presence.
My long-term desire would be to find a means of casting this monumental expression of sorrow into bronze. A bronze casting would give the piece permanence, something it lacks in its present medium. Upon casting the work, I envision the bronze Lament placed in a setting that commemorates a tragic event.