DEREK WEIDMAN: CIRCLING NATURE
The work of Derek Weidman builds upon traditions of art in wood by combining diverse genres and an idiosyncratic exploration of form and colour.
Profile by Kevin V. Wallace.
DEREK Weidman is an artist who utilizes machinery to speak of nature. He spends an enormous amount of time thinking about what he does, how he does it and, perhaps most importantly, why he does it. Avoiding erratic decisions in creating work, he asks questions about aspects of his sculptures at nearly every level of creation. ‘I have always felt my work has improved not based on mechanical skill, but rather via some epiphany…that it is
richer thoughts that make richer work,’ he explains. ‘While trying to reconcile my medium, technique and subjects, I’ve found that, as I grow as an artist, each aspect has come into line with the other. I feel that, in the end, such investigation allows a sculpture to not just sit in reality, uncertain and shy, but rather to have something to say and with the clarity of a bell.’ Weidman emerged as an artist in the field of woodturning and, while he is in demand as a demonstrator – sharing techniques for multi-axis turning and painting – the market for his work is ultimately to be found in the world of contemporary art.
‘Woodturning is still pervaded by the expectation of exquisitely finished bowls and vessels quietly displayed on pedestals with aesthetic experiences of grain, finish, and form, celebrated for an everyman, down-to-earth humble –
ness,’ says Michael McMillan, Associate Curator at the Fuller Craft Museum. ‘Many of the artists involved in the woodturning field do not have the visual vocabulary to understand the meaning, motifs or themes in the work of
an artist like Derek Weidman, or want to make a timely investment into trying to decipher everything he is doing thematically – or even technically.
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