As an artist, it is not difficult for me to move between sculpture and painting. When I create a sculpture, I consider the location and the way the light interacts with the surface. I experiment with and manipulate the innate behavior of whatever material I am using. With the aid of handmade paper and welded armatures, I create self-contained objects whose impact is determined not so much by their relationship to the surrounding landscape, but by their dialogue with the viewer’s body. The viewer, whether approaching the sculpture from a distance or close up, can read them many different ways.

I want the containers to be a place of refuge, a place that controls and protects personal privacy, and yet, even though they are contained or enclosed, would also be open. I want the tension between the two. One would be able to see inside, but could not enter. I want the containers to be vessels that one could psychologically project oneself into and yet not be able to get into physically.

The use of grass, straw, sticks, dirt and even mud links my work to the themes of nature and landscape. Some of my sculptures made of masses of woven wire, string, ropes and waxed leather thread look like gigantic birds nests, into which people could find sanctuary or even hibernate.

Even though my sculptures may have many kinds of references, the sculpture just happens. It is born from the many thoughts and experiences that come together while working on the piece. I have a very basic idea of what it is going to be, and then as I’m building it, it happens. What interests me is the challenge of achieving the idea in my mind as I make the piece. It is this process of discovery and evolution that builds the pieces.












  ©2016 Joan B. Needham
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