» Sep 25, 2023  

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Artistís Statement John A. Bell

At the Walt Whitman Birthplace on Rt. 110 in Huntington.

Steel is a beautiful material that can be twisted, bent and hammered into shape when heated red hot. It does not give up easily, but requires work to make it into what you wish. When one learns how to defeat steel’s resistance and to form it as one pleases, the results are gratifying. Iron ore from the earth has become a material for art.

Once In the hands of man, steel is found everywhere in daily life. After it is put to use, steel reacts with its environment, and its surface can go from a lustrous gray to a deep rust brown, eventually acquiring a deeply pitted moon-like surface. The beauty of demolition or found steel is the endless variation in its color, shape, texture or origin. Surface textures of deterioration add mood and meaning to a sculpture. Newborn steel has no history, but used steel has provenance. There is vital warmth and genuineness in used steel. Its surface tells a story about where it has been over the years. Now a new story begins in the hands of a sculptor.
Steel sculptures using raw, untreated, reclaimed material may appear primitive. Lines are created from misshapen pieces of steel whose surface texture and color force the eye to follow each line from beginning to end. The emphasis is to be informal, creating a piece that is not polished nor has a look of perfection. The elements of construction are left to stand naturally, and the steel will speak however it chooses.
When taking a piece of rusted and multi colored steel I ask, where will you take me? Are you the beginning or the end? What must I do to make you a complete thought?


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