TITLE: Nesting

YEAR: 2018

MEDIUM: Wood, Gypsum board, Latex, Blown glass, Paint

DIMENSIONS: 54″ H x 50″ W x 8″ D


“There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged?

~ Henry David Thoreau

In the process of renovating our home, “nesting” as some call, this work emerged. At times renovating a home feels pointless. Home renovation is such a violent and destructive process. I try to imagine what the unjaded minds of my children observing their father literally tearing apart the house think about all of this destruction; I must look like a mad man from that view. Once the dust settles, I try to take a moment to stand back to see this process with those fresh eyes. Why am I ripping out this wall?  What’s wrong with these window casements? Are these tiles really so undesirable? After all, it is still a house; it still functions as a dwelling in its untouched state.

Some changes are necessary… I suppose.  But at what cost I ask myself. Here I am remaking this house… but what am I sacrificing? What is really being torn down and discarded?…my artistic practice! Already feeling pressed for time, there is little time to be creative without immediate purpose. Making artworks takes a back seat when one is “nesting”. In this instrumental making of a home, a utilitarian and practical pursuit, I feel as though all of my creative time is spent building a place where eventually I can once again make art. It seems so counterproductive. I’ve traded in my sketchbook for a tool belt. Am I still a sculptor once I stop making sculpture. How long will this last? There must be a way to develop the “poetic faculty” that Thoreau questions. Does building my house make me the artist? Can this qualify?

Taking a view from this perspective, maybe building my house is me being a sculptor. Not in the sense that “anyone that makes something is an artist”; I find this conjecture to be valueless and in my opinion dilutes the potency and sensitivity of the artistic act. I mean this in the structural sense that as a sculptor I do first need a place, a space in which to keep my ‘things’ of art making. Without this repository and play space my ideas and outcomes don’t ever seem to materialize. This ‘renovation’ is the process of accumulation and magnetization that prefaces the artistic act. It’s like a morning stretch or an aperitif.

I suppose, that this artwork satisfies both desires to build my home and to be a sculptor. Demolishing my sculptural practice to (re)make a house- a home. Demolishing a house to remake myself as a sculptor, both in site and form. I don’t quite see it though, I can’t quite see myself as the sculptor I once was, not yet.  But soon, that view is emerging; breaking through and consolidating the debris of this “nesting” process. Once this house is finished I’ll be making art again… watch and see!