Carolyn King: Transitions

Picture                               Winter Bones
The Japanese have a poetic phrase, “mono no aware”, which recognizes the pathos of things, a sensitivity towards ephemera. Things that don’t last become dear to us. I don’t set out to create things that don’t last, but in the course of life I have encountered loss and change and many times that becomes reflected in my work.  

In the beginning of my career I learned to weld because I thought it would make me strong and I could make things that had a long life span.  It soon became clear that that I tended not treat steel and metal materials  as inflexible or rigid, but rather as pliable material to be manipulated into softer shapes.  I don’t have preconceived ideas about materials or subjects, rather I listen to the work/idea and what it wants to be.
 Midnight Surprise
I thought I would be a painter when I entered art school but I had a mentor who recognized that I see things in three dimensions. I count Robert Rauschenberg’s work as an early influence: he took from our culture and nothing was off limits. This framed my view and sparked an era of using “common” things – things walked on, discarded, 
I lived and worked in Portland for many years and belonged to a conceptual gallery where the shows took the form mostly of installations.  While in Portland I served on several public art selection committees for the city  and also created and installed 3 public art pieces.   My work with natural materials was a  major shift that happened shortly before I left Portland to come to Mendocino.  I became intrigued by the use of natural materials and wanted to work with in a way that had less impact on the environment.   
                                                             Leaf Catcher
In this show I began with a big wood round a neighbor gave me.  I knew it was going to take a long time to carve so I also started the two smaller forms in the show. There are difficult periods, a gestation time, where it isn’t clear how the piece wants to be, but other times it is clear from the start.
                                                   Tree Ring
With the hanging birds I thought “I need color”; they were fun and at that point everything started to come together. 
Songbird Migration
 With the piece “Catching the Currents” I loved the vines and birds – the freedom they have. It was hard to find the materials that felt right for the birds to keep them looking light and airy.  I finally settled on the bamboo leaves for feathers.  
 Picture                      Catching the Currents
I don’t really have a favorite tool.   I use what I need to in terms of tools and materials – it’s all a playground to me. Some pieces come together quickly, some take years but it quite clear to me when a piece is complete. 
Picture                                Waiting for Spring

                                Reaching for Light

Author: mcohen15

I am an artist and teacher who travels extensively throughout the world. I am using this blog to share my experiences with my students and friends.

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