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  • Writer's pictureRichard Hunt

1987

Work that was initiated some years ago as a sort of private investigation of an idea . . . some years later became the basis of some larger piece of sculpture, some more public piece. For most of my larger pieces I use the fabrication process of cutting, shaping, and welding sheets of stainless steel together. When I enlarge pieces, however, I consider myself to be re-creating the piece in full scale rather than simply copying a small piece. This process of re-creating the piece in the larger scale gives the full-scale work a spontaneity and it keeps the process more open and alive for me as a sculptor through the opportunity to re-experience the ideas that gave rise to the initial subject . . .


I’ve come to see the different metals as providing a palette. Stainless steel and aluminum being sort of cool, bronze and Cor-Ten steel being warm and having, obviously, a variety of hues and colors depending on the heat and the patina one might use. This potential of a rich palette of colors and textures contributes to an ease of developing within the metal the kind of ideas that I seem to have.


One of the central themes in my work is the reconciliation of the organic and the industrial. I see my work as forming a kind of bridge between what we experience in nature and what we experience from the urban, industrial, technology-driven society we live in. I like to think that within the work that I approach most successfully there is a resolution of the tension between the sense of freedom one has in contemplating nature and the sometimes restrictive, closed feeling engendered by the rigors of the city, the rigors of the industrial environment.

The theme of much of my work can be characterized as a fusion or harmonization of the vital tensions existing between dualities, such as the organic and the geometric, the organic and the abstract, or the past and the present, the traditional and the contemporary.


The use of forms that derive from nature and the use of the directmetal technique produce a work that has an organic derivation yet the hardened presence of another form. In the very technique, the very form itself, there is embodied the duality of industrial society and nature—and the vital tensions that one wants to harmonize through an interplay of them in the work of sculpture.


I was first drawn to the use of metal—the welding and soldering of metal—because its tensile properties allowed one to develop forms in space, to reach out, in a way that works with the weight and [that] a mass of clay, plaster, stone, or wood couldn’t really do. Metal is a dominant, omnipresent material in twentieth-century use. We know the feel of it, we know the look of it, so anything made of iron, steel, aluminum, has an immediacy in our environment.


Therefore, in our industrial society, the use of metal is both a way of developing an individual identity (by the way you use it as a sculptor) and, at the same time, a way of having a very direct link with everybody else who uses metal in the industrial culture.

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