William Martin

Plugjoint

Plugjoint
2003
Wood and steel
72" x 24" x 60"

Plugjoint

Plugjoint
2003
Wood and steel
72" x 24" x 60"

William Martin

My sculptures are about the strange and sometimes absurd forms that arise in times of change. An old adage says: “necessity is the mother of invention”. This idea is much too goal oriented and linear for a world governed by circumstance and chaos. The revised version should read ‘opportunity is the mother of invention,' while necessity is the force that pares down the less than useful examples. This is much the same as contemporary views of evolution. For example, climate changes and other factors created new environmental conditions that resulted in the Cambrian Explosion, a  period in which new life with body forms unlike anything seen before or since, developed rapidly from single cell life forms. Evolution as a paring down force, eliminated many examples. In most cases the optimal examples survive, but due to chance and circumstance, less than optimal examples also survive.

I am fascinated with the history of invention and the way that changing technological environments function in much the same way as biological evolution, making opportunity for inventors to develop new devices. The history of invention is full of unsuccessful inventions, many ridiculous and even humorous, such as early flying machines whose shapes were inspired by birds and sometimes even clad in feathers. Those early inventors were working by trial and error experimentation, and by grafting new technology onto previous forms. Some of those less than optimal inventions are catalysts for my imagination.

The physical qualities that result from hand craftsmanship and the combinations of materials are important to me. I employ construction methods that show evidence of being hand made: Hammer marks from blacksmithing, laminated wood, and stretched aircraft fabric are good mediums for achieving this quality. These handmade qualities are contradictory to the idea of mechanization just as mechanics best suited to particular tasks contradict one another within each sculpture. The sculptures are unusual combinations of technology, biology and machinery, but the scale and materials are controlled to give the viewer a sense of believability.

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William Martin