My work explores the concept of structure through physical abstractions of solidity, stability, permanence and transition. I create naturally inspired forms that are antithetical to the concept of solidity, subverting the concept of stability through a process of imparting and embracing negative space.
The concept of a structure has always fascinated me, enough to propel me to earn a degree, and work as a professional structural engineer for over a decade. Ultimately, I left the profession so I could devote my life to the creation of purely aesthetic structures.
In the design and engineering of structures with practical purposes, one is typically in pursuit of the lightest, most minimal of structural systems that will provide the specified stability in accordance with given physical constants and safety codes. Those structures must perform in a way that provides a function beyond their inherent existence or, form follows function. The creation of objects using these systems, but where practicality has little to no meaning, provides virtually limitless freedom to express ideas through physical forms. In the latter case, a structure’s mere existence is the paradigm. Its inherent beauty, story or meaning can be the reason for its existence or, function follow form. As an engineer I was intrigued with what would be possible if the requirements were different; as an artist I go beyond imagination to explore that potential in physical form.
My sculptures are paradoxical in regard to the concept of solidity and sturdiness. I deconstruct, and in many ways destroy forms to ‘open them up’, lighten, and enlighten them. The solid shapes I create are my canvases, and my brush strokes the holes and gaps I place within those rigid canvases, as well as the light projected through and the shadows created by them.
The objects and systems I encounter in nature, be they mountains or cliffs, a tree, the flow of a river, a sunset, the wind in a ship’s sails, and more, typically inspire me through their most minimal and deconstructed shapes and patterns. Those shapes and patterns form the basis of my sculptural forms. I breathe deeper life into those forms by imbuing them with tension, causing them to physically and visually disintegrate or decay, while remaining fixed structures in space and time.
I work with a desire to create static forms that vibrate with the quiet tension of juxtaposed negative and positive space, of tenuous solidity, static motion and arrested decay. My artworks are defined as much by what the viewer sees as by what they see in, and through them; they are visually transformed as their surrounding environs and by the changes in those environs. Under the right conditions, the interplay of my sculptures with their surroundings will manifest in the intricate shadows they produce. The shadows are an ever-changing dance between the object, and its surroundings, and you.
Michael Enn Sirvet