Earlier this month, I had the honor of placing Broken Blocks II and Broken Blocks III in the permanent collection of the National Gallery in Prague for the institution's 220th Anniversary. It is significant for me to have work in my country of origin.
This would not have been possible without the support of my friend and colleague, Milena Kalinovska, who has recently become the Director of Modern and Contemporary Art Collections there.
The concept of Broken Blocks started several years ago in the early 1980s. The series is the result of my being totally captivated by the axe. The rhythmic chopping of the wood became intoxicating. Use of the axe allowed me to develop the complex, geometrical design evident in Broken Blocks while at the same time avoiding the mechanical effects left by a saw.
Prior to the Broken Blocks series, I had used the axe on various occasions for the sole purpose of taking away mass from the material as opposed to finding the true direction of my intended form. The interrelated lines develop into a pleasing conclusion in Broken Blocks II and Broken Blocks III.
Axes are not appropriate for all wood. Care has to be taken in determining the type of wood that is to be used. For example, wood like pine, with rough knots is inappropriate for my specific purpose. Poplar, on the other hand, has the simplicity of straight grains, an advantage for axing.
Prior to being placed in the permanent collection of the National Gallery in Prague, Broken Blocks II and Broken Blocks III were installed in exhibitions at the Kreeger Museum (2014), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (1990), and the Columbia Square Building in Washington, D.C. (1990).
Broken Blocks II and Broken Blocks III will remain on view in the National Gallery in Prague until July 3, 2016.