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This project was successfully funded on January 16, 2013

Language of Objects

by Sarah Bostwick


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Begun at the Roswell Artist-in-Residency Program in 2012 where time and space to work was at an all-time high, this series of large-scale ebonized cherry wood reliefs uses the tactile nature of wood and the abstract, atmospheric qualities of low-light photography to address the language of furniture and photography in everyday life.  Since graduating from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in printmaking in 2001, I have been casting and carving objects from traditional materials as a means of documenting found environments and thinking about the language of objects.  I would like to continue this series of ambitiously large reliefs over the next year and more specifically to finish several the works for a solo booth project presented at Art Brussels in April of 2013. 

Each piece will be created from a photograph taken in low-light conditions depicting a found place that is both ambiguous and specific at the same time.  With a minimal amount of information visible the details of the spaces that make up a feeling of a place will be defined in low relief, carved in cherry wood and tinted jet black with a historic ebonizing process involving a vinegar and rust solution.  The monochrome pictorial image will be both an open ended abstraction and a beginning of a narrative about a specific built environment, describing people through the objects and structures they have created.  The goal of each artwork would be to exist both in the moment as an intriguing object and persist as an idea over a long period of time, being viewed in changing light through out the day that inspires new links to a growing story.

One 41 x 70 x 5 inch relief has been completed in this series and a second larger relief at 54 x 96 x 5 inches is underway.  Several of the larger works are scheduled to exhibited by Meessen De Clercq gallery at Art Brussels and compete for the 10k solo booth price awarded each year by the art fair’s sponsors. The exhibition will be an opportunity to reach a wider international audience and be an important step in establishing stronger connections to the European art community. 

Before beginning construction of a relief in wood, the basic angles of the sculpture are figured out through a process of paper models, both miniature and then a full-scale black foam core model.  A plan for the wood grain direction and substructure is then devised in consultation with a fellow woodworker, Jason McCloskey whom I met though the Rhode Island School of Design furniture department.  The lenticular qualities of how the black on black wood grain will catch the light and how the different grain directions will expand and contract are all taken into consideration when creating the final work plan.   Each relief is pieced together from sections of ¾ inch cherry wood that is then mounted on a steal structure to keep the relief flat and allow it to be hung on a wall.

Through your contribution to this project I hope to reach the minimum fundraising goal of $8,000 to cover the cost of materials, studio time in the Communtiy Woodshop of Los Angeles and a studio assistant to create two reliefs in the Language of Objects series.  Your donation would help me complete this project and allow me the freedom to create more ambitious artworks than ever before.  If this fundraising effort exceeds the minimum goal all extra proceeds would be put towards the creation of additional works in the series. I would like to thank Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco for being a huge supporter of my work since 2004 and also Meessen De Clercq gallery in Brussels, Belgium.

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