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Matt Auvinen

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MARBLE RELIEF SCULPTURE: An Archaeological Iconography

To an extent, carving is akin to excavating: layer by layer forms are revealed within the mass of the block. There are some consistent and irreducible characteristics about archaeological activity that form my thoughts about a theory of beauty and artistic appeal.

First of all, archaeology employs a rational approach to its subject and this approach is sectional (utilizing straight lines and right angles); the zone or area of enquiry is therefore "framed". The reasons for events in archaeology are often capricious while the reasons for artistic compositions are based on intent. Art making, however, is not entirely rational. In archaeology all artifacts are assumed fragile and nothing is expected to be in its original condition. Even seemingly insignificant things or details may be important (or a clue). When things are destroyed we seek to identify them and define their original function or use. Artifacts are connected by context, are site specific and by extension are time specific. Compression and stratification are expected. And finally, what is not uncovered or revealed is unknown.

My sculptural work liberally employs all of these characteristics to address and examine the meaning of random things, the passage of time, and the value of human activity.

All the white marble relief sculptures are made from a single piece of statuary marble. They are hollowed out on the back to make them light enough to be hung on a wall or they can have iron based to be placed on pedestals or tables. ~ Matt