"Dancer 10" by Jack Howard-Potter, part of the Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden Permanent Collection, will be featured in front of Thalia Mara Hall for the duration of the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.
My artistic vision is to create abstract forms that spark the imagination of the viewers and highlight the importance of communication. Whether we are engaging in dialogue with those around us, or finding new passions in life, it is fundamental that we continue seeking out and discovering new things. My work has always dealt with conflicts of confinement and freedom and exploring catalyst between the two: building or destroying communication systems.
In the abstract form, these sculptures remind us of a fundamental idea, one that people of all ages can identify with. Their appendages likely reached out to send or receive signals from others. It is difficult to discern whether they are from the future or the past, and regardless, one wonders how well they served their purpose, or if there was a purpose at all. These devices may be tangible evidence of how communication succeeds or fails in our own lives and in the lives of others.
The material I use and the process of my work is directly influenced by experience. I come from a mid-west, blue collar family that has been in the construction business for four generations. The idea to create sculpture from those same materials seemed natural and permanent. My decision to utilize the benefits of structural steel in my work also comes from being inspired by the fabrication process. I enjoy the dedication and commitment that is required with this material, it helps build character.
I believe that art should be interactive. Direct human contact between the participant and the artwork allows for a deeper connection to form, encouraging a feeling of community. I integrate playful incongruity in many of my pieces in order to promote humor, making it more accessible. While my primary research is in Kinetic Sculpture, I use furniture design as a vehicle for human interaction. This interface facilitates experimentation with structure, aesthetics, and the response to design in people’s daily lives.
Much of my inspiration comes from the unfortunate events of Hurricane Katrina. I use these personal memories to influence my artwork in a more idealistic and positive direction: we can do more good working together than we can individually. The aesthetics of my work come directly from industrial memories of my childhood and travels: areas where the natural world and urban development meet, such as a bridge crossing the muddy waters of the Missouri River or the unseen beauty of overgrown abandoned brick warehouses. The combination of human innovation with the unrelenting forces of nature has always captivated me, and I often incorporate that look of strength amidst decay in my artwork.
Because I often incorporate found material in my work, there is usually some level of uncertainty about how the finished piece will look. Although it can become frustrating, I find comfort in this lack of certainty because it allows me to become impulsive and make changes to the design as I see fit. This artistic freedom, as well as the integration of ethical materials into my artwork, creates a deep sense of gratification and is what keeps me making art.
Bryan Winfred Massey, Sr. is currently a Professor of Art/Sculptor at the University of Central Arkansas, Conway. He is primarily a stone carver working with a variation of stone from alabaster, soapstone, limestone, marble and granite. He also casts in iron, bronze, and aluminum as well as fabrication of steel sculptures. He was selected for the Governor’s Award for the Individual Artist of the Year, 2006.
Matt is a Missouri native that grew up along the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau. As a young child he was surrounded by his family and spent much time with his grandparents. As time passed, Matt’s grandfathers began to strongly influence his creative play unintentionally. Both grandfathers were craftsmen with one working in metal and the other in wood. “I loved going to their workshops, they were filled with shapes and forms.”
Builder. Musician. Sculptor.
As an apprentice to a master carpenter, Wayne Vaughn enjoyed a successful building career that spanned four decades. Music plays an important part in his life as founding member of a 28 year old brass band. Rooted in this combination of physical skill and know-how, dedication, and creative pursuit, in 2004 his career as sculptor was fostered. Very quickly his bold, geometric, large-scale works began winning awards and the attention of regional and national shows.
"Finding ones place in a relationship with nature is the theme of my sculpture. While working with materials such as metal and stone, a relationship between nature and myself is formed. Further, I want to tell stories and comment on my collective life experience and my perception of a collective consciousness? Hopefully, these ideas and expressions will enter into human consciousness and the fourth dimension."