steel & bonded cement/resin
In this piece I wanted to respond to the beauty and untamed quality of the land here. Although there are trails, and mowed areas, and man-made lakes, the overall feeling of the Lay Sculpture Park when I visited it was of nature in a state of unrestrained growth. The place invites one to explore, to contemplate, to discover what lies and lives within it. I chose the imagery of wolves because they imply extreme wildness, a rare and dangerous beauty. The pieces are not literal wolves, however, but proto-wolves. Larger than life, the forms are realistic in that they convey a canine image, yet they are more about the drama of wild presence, and the abstract beauty of line and form within the animal image. Their size might even denote that they are remnants of some undetermined prehistoric era. The attitudes of the pieces are dramatic and extreme to emphasize the uncontrolled beauty of the animal, and by extension, the environment. Animals express their inner state through the attitudes of their bodies. Within the skeletal presence of the sculptures I attempt to convey the full energy of that inner life. Looking at a dinosaur skeleton, or any skeleton really, it has immediate and visceral impact. It’s not cloaked with skin and fat, it’s the bare bones of the thing, describing its function in stark visual form, carving beneath the simple fleshy outline. The grimace of a skull shocks us, because we are used to the thing ameliorated by a soft layer homogenizing the parts. Who would think that the jaws hinge so far back, that the eyes have such huge, hollow sockets? How can that framework be the thing that we living beings are constructed of beneath our pelts and our blue jeans? There is a horror to it, but also a fascinating beauty.
I chose to place the piece in a field so it could be seen from a distance, and would draw the viewer close to investigate. Raising it on a mound increases the drama, visibility, and scale. The built site implies a narrative: the wolves seem to have gathered in a specific area that is their territory, perhaps ruins of a former civilization overtaken by nature. At this place they commune with each other, standing apart from and above their surroundings. As the viewer approaches, one might feel challenged by the stalking forms. Exploring the site, entering within the circle through the cutaway sides, or climbing up onto the mound, one could become part of this group to share its domain and vantage point.