Drawing is a useful tool for generating new work, but drawing has limits when the subject of the work is an elusive concept. I enjoy drawing and painting representational subjects, but feel challenged to create works that embody a sense of being alive. Years of chasing this idea has taken me through iterations of art-making that have proceeded as a series of experiments with media and method.
Making a three dimensional object from a drawn object can require a lot of technical problem-solving. My art practice revolves around creating interesting problems to solve. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and in my mind I can see the path for overcoming an obstacle that had been blocking progress or a better method to get a result I was seeking. All the maquettes and samples and materials research didn’t get me the result that I was looking for, yet here it was, laid out in my head clearly.
When I started on this path, I believed that abstract ideas called for abstract work, and many of my earlier pieces were abstract, but there seemed to be a disconnect between the concepts they embodied and what the pieces were communicating. From the beginning, simplified figures kept inserting themselves into pieces and eventually I embraced them as a conduit to concept, ghosts haunting the studio, or more likely deep history asserting itself from my Catholic upbringing and training as a theatrical designer.
The piece ‘Firmament’, came out of an intention to literally ground a figure while acknowledging the continuity of life beyond the short span of a human. It emerged as the outline of a body, levitating, with roots reaching downward and butterflies hovering above. The body itself is fractured, but dense with renewal and possibility as a reflecting pool gifting new perspective. I made the piece several years ago but the message seems more timely than ever.
Carolyn Enz Hack is one of 36 artists from 10 states who’s work is included in Adrift, a national juried exhibition which is on view at Main Street Arts through June 11, 2021.