July 11 - September 19
Opening: July 11, 2020
As Executive Director and Curator at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, I have had the distinct pleasure over the past two years of working with Dallas sculptor, Phillip Shore, to bring his creations to Longview. It was March of 2018 when I happened upon his work through a catalog for his 2017 “A Soliloquy on Oneness” exhibition created for the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University. I was immediately drawn to the earthiness of the materials and his philosophy of the earth and humanity’s interconnectedness.
As the world is currently facing a global pandemic and the United States is struggling to face and correct the injustices of racism, Shore’s work could not be timelier. For me, his work exudes a peacefulness and mindfulness that invites the viewer to meditate on their connectedness with nature and our world. His new exhibition, “Phenology and Forms,” debuting here at LMFA in Longview, Texas and later traveling to The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, is a prime example of how ART encourages peaceful dialogue, reflection and promotes healing.
The subject of my art is based on the relationship humans have established with the physical world. Wendell Berry, in his 1989 essay Nature as Measure writes, “But we know too that nature includes us. It is not a place into which we reach from some safe standpoint outside it.” This quote speaks to the interconnectedness of all that exists; a concept that permeates my sculptures. Within my work I attempt to reconcile our western understanding of separation and domination of the laws of nature with the quite obvious oneness of the world.
I have inherited an objective removal in experiencing my surroundings, a scientific type of distancing from the world that I inhabit. The urban and sub-urban environments we have built revolve around our social and economic needs setting up an ever-increasing level of separation. The grid and geometric designs are reflections of our need to order. We look on with strange fascination at aboriginal cultures and those who retreat from contemporary society to live in remote locales.
Conversely, when I am sitting on the riverbank I am conscious of the lack of straight lines, how the deer path mimics the meander of the stream. I, like the raccoon, the heron and the deer, have my actions documented in the moist soils that confine the water only to be washed away as the stream rises with the next rain. The beaver has gnawed away the base of the tree upon which I rest my back; perhaps I interrupted his labor. I feel and understand that I am connected to the rhythm of the planet.
Entering the studio is analogous to working in the vegetable garden. My exploration of ideas is a process of sowing, germinating and nurturing to maturity. In developing forms and compositions, my process involves a balance between reason and intuition mediated by formal concerns. When I enter the studio, I am not consciously considering the information gleaned from outside but rather I begin to create parts, i.e. carving insect wings, casting body parts, bending wood into spirals and helixes, carving pod forms… intuitively responding, exploring. As the work progresses, these elements join together in compositions that speak to my overarching thesis: the interconnected relationship of humans and nature. Oneness.
This work emerges from a personal investigation, an exploration seeking my place in this natural system. The work is neither declarative nor didactic but is rather evidence of the journey.