My sculpture takes flight

Inspired by the movement of Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstrokes in Flight series, my Bench in Flight I was definitely a “learning piece”. Here, I began to explore my signature crosscut and axe approach when confronted with a complex piece of wood.  

To date I had been working on pieces of cherry wood, easy to shape because of the even and predictable grain structures, with few branches.  But working with oak wood gave me pause. The challenge was how to axe the very uneven surface and yet keep the thrust of the wood intact.

 I solved the problem by making gentle depressions with the axe between the rough areas where branches made their mark, forming these slight hollows as the direction of the grain suggested.  The shifting changes in the direction of the axe resulted in a rich processed surface, while at the same time the thrust of the wood remained dominant. The process in Bench in Flight II is easier to read, clearer in its lesson, however it contains the same approach.

My experience with both benches me to cope with any of the uneven structures of wood I needed such as the ones later found in Forest or Blue Diagonals.
 

Bench in Flight I, 1994, 3'6" x 6' x 2'6", white oak. Shown outside my rural Virginia hut.

Bench in Flight I, 1994, 3'6" x 6' x 2'6", white oak. Shown outside my rural Virginia hut.

In Bench in Flight I, I paid special attention to the natural designs in the trunk.

In Bench in Flight I, I paid special attention to the natural designs in the trunk.

Bench in Flight I, seen from rear. The legs were from the same of wood as the bench itself.

Bench in Flight I, seen from rear. The legs were from the same of wood as the bench itself.

Bench in Flight II, 1995, red oak, 4'  x 6'10" x 3'11". Shown at the Kouros Outdoor Gallery in Kent, Connecticut in November 1995.

Bench in Flight II, 1995, red oak, 4'  x 6'10" x 3'11". Shown at the Kouros Outdoor Gallery in Kent, Connecticut in November 1995.