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Michael Enn Sirvet – Artist Statement – January 2018
I strive to capture the primitive beauty within familiar forms, to interpret their underlying architecture and their place in time and space, and construct a bridge between those simple icons and complex ideas. Inspired by the geometry that is inherent within the chaos of nature, and the technology and industry which I use to mimic them, I create archetypal structures which are at once static and dynamic, organic and industrial, intricate yet tranquil.
My sculptures are a balance of negative and positive space; I sculpt as much with my materials as I do with the air and light flowing around and through them. The negative space in my sculptures is a defining feature of my artwork. I work in this way to invite the energy of each sculpture’s surroundings to become a part of the piece, and to glorify the materials and forms themselves. While each sculpture is born as an independent physical structure which makes its own statement, through my process I, in essence, open up each piece. My goal is to have my sculptures unify with as well as change according to their surroundings. As the surrounding lighting and atmospheric conditions and ‘mood’ change, so do my sculptures in reflection and response.
My process is obsessively precise yet purposely contradictory being both subtractive and additive. This introduces an element of chaos into my craft which allows me to take an unknown journey of sorts with each sculpture. Until finding a freeing voice in sculpture, my creative life was fairly charted. I was a structural engineer, typically working toward a predetermined end with each project. While I found passion in the elegance of the engineering process, the mystery was always in that process, not in the known outcome. As an artist I rarely, if ever, work from sketches, which means my artistic outcomes are somewhat left to chance. Subjecting very precise sculptural design concepts to the contradictions and uncertainties of my process will, I hope, lead to a more compelling outcome which reflects some of the most beautiful intricacies of nature. Just as a precisely machined piece of steel will maintain its general shape but patina, rust and eventually decay differently depending upon the unique conditions it is exposed to, I expose the base concepts of my sculptures to the unforeseen events within my process with the intent of creating something that is a somewhat unforeseen combination of the two.
In this way, I restructure primitive forms to show them to people anew – creating a mythos of forms that are born of nature and forged in the fires of industry, technology and human desire. To that effect, the most organic of my sculptures are industrial, and the most engineered of my pieces reflect a primitive, natural calm. Nature cannot be considered without acknowledging humanity’s effects, and my artwork is a fusion of the harmony and disharmony, the beauty and tension of that relationship.
My hope is that the simple intricacies of my abstracted, purified forms and assemblages will invoke recognition and impart the wonder that I feel for nature. That I use industrial materials and methods to create enduring artworks that appear organic, delicate and ephemeral is an embedded irony when considering the effects of man’s technological and industrial development upon nature and our environment. However, I feel that passion and the creative ability to turn the industrial and plain into beauty is a sign of the surest hope.
Michael Enn Sirvet
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