Carved directly in stone, my work combines traditional carving techniques with contemporary art ideas such as public interaction and appropriation. While my main means of production is carving, I do not limit my efforts to a single “signature” medium. Instead, I move between various media such as glass, stone, paper, metal, and sand.
My art is unique on many levels. For example, in the Roliquery series, I follow the basic semiotic premise of binary oppositions, which defines much of our language. Every image carved is either in the negative, which when printed becomes positive, or vice versa. Viewers complete the creative process as they roll the Roliquery and create images in the sand. The carved stone is a tool in the creation of an image, rather than being simply a singular art object; it impresses the fluid and fugitive sand with an image from the fixed and permanent stone. Even though this final act is playful, it often leads to serious aesthetic investigation of how forms are made, and what it means to be an artist. By interacting with my carvings people are moved from passive consumption of art as commodity to an active contemplation of contemporary art with a playful touch.
I believe that the goal of contemporary art is to forge connections between people. Such connections are made through both the artist and the artistic product. Thus I divide my time equally between the studio and activities that bring art experiences to the community. On the local level, I promote the beauty of the native limestone as an artistic medium and keep alive the art of direct carving, with a strong emphasis on historic carving techniques and styles. The internationally recognized Indiana Limestone Symposium, of which I am co-founder and director, brings artists from across North America, Europe, and Asia to Indiana.
The Human Brain
On Friday, Oct. 11, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at IU Bloomington will recognize its 125th anniversary with a daylong program of major festivities.
About the Brain Sculpture
The department will mark the occasion with the unveiling of a 10,000-lb. limestone sculpture of a human brain at 11:15 a.m., near the entrance to the Psychology Building. At 7 feet high, it will be the largest anatomically accurate brain sculpture in the world, mounted on a limestone and stainless steel base.
Local limestone artist and IU alumna Amy Brier said she was handed the proposal for the sculpture in March. She quickly hired master carver Mike Donham, owner of Accent Limestone and Carving in Spencer, and Brad Powell, of Accent Limestone and Carving, who soon got to work in Donham’s workshop, chiseling and refining the immense sculpture. They worked from a one-foot scale model of a brain.
Brier oversaw the carving, which she calls a “dialogue with the stone.”
“The interesting thing is, we are learning a lot about the brain,” she said.
Donham carves stone for a living, but said he found this project to be a unique challenge. “Anything out of the ordinary, I love.”