Durant Thompson

My personal research is rooted in imagery from the Middle-Ages, the early twentieth-century Industrial Revolution and experiences encountered while growing up in the New England and Appalachian countryside.  My work gives tribute to the craftsmanship of the people and objects that were once used and now survive from those times and places.

The image of round form has been a reoccurring form in my work since i started making sculpture.  Conceptually it represents various ideas in my work including the cycle of life, an element of my inspiration and occasional it’s a reflection of personal evaluation.  For years I have tried to remove or suppress round forms in my sculpture, but they have always managed to manifest themselves somewhere.  I now realize that these round forms are an integral element in my conceptual creativity and an important personal symbol.  As a result i have embraces the form as a signature component in my work.

Using recycled materials is important in the realization of all many my sculptures.  I scrounge my materials from riverbeds, farms, scrap yards and industrial dumpsters in order to house an inventory of forms from which to select objects and shapes.  Many of the objects I accumulate are forms that are connects to obsessions from my youth such as railroad and farm equipment, the transportation industry, old steam powered machinery, armor, weaponry and castle architecture.  These weather fragments of wood, rusted steel and broken bits of machinery are all combined in the creation of my work.  Inspired by the inherent designs of the objects, i cast, fabricate and assemble all of the different elements into a new existence so that they can be view from a fresh perspective in a new compositional form.  While it is imperative to overcome the identity of the original object it is also important that historical references attached to each object are subdued but not lost in the act of creation.

In my smaller works i am driven by and appreciation for the basic principles and elements of design in order to create visual harmony.  The overall conclusion of each sculpture derives from countless hours of cerebral digestion in order to achieve a please but simple form.  I often toil over the placement of an object for hours only to discard it in the end in order to produce a finished sculpture.  When all the layers, objects and elements are combined, the composition must read in unity without one area becoming to visually active or heavy.  These smaller works are often explorations that question the boundaries between tradition mediums in fine are.  It is my interpretation that all process and media can by utilized in order to realize and idea regardless of whether it begins in the 2-D, 3-D or 4-D part of the mind.  In my larger works I am not only committed to creating and interesting object but also an engaging experience for the viewer.  It is because of this interest in the viewer’s interaction that I first crossed the boundaries of installation in my sculptures.  I often use spatially appealing aspects along with elemental components such as fire, water, and wind in an effort to entice the viewer to interact with my artwork.  I strive to bridge the gap between “untouchable art” and the viewer by inviting them sit, play, ride or engage the sculptures in some war.  Recently color has been utilized to further direct the viewer from one component to another, but in the future i plan to explore possibilities in the realm of environmental and earthwork art to do the same.

In an era when many things in social setting are moving in the blink of an informational eye and society screams to be digitally entertained, I find that it is still important to take time to enjoy well-crafted, artistic creations in out physical surroundings.  I strive to create an escape from the everyday grind so that the view can sit back, relax, and absorb interesting objects in the tangible environment.  I am aware that at some point in the future these objects will abandon the venue I create for them and once again be recycles into the next one.  If I’m lucky a few of my sculptures will stick around for a few generations before they become scrap again.  Between now and then, I want my work to remind people of the blue-collar artists, craftsmen and laborers that came before us that provided a blueprint for out present microchip revolution.