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Mel Turcanik

Mel Turcanik, Maker of Things

The spirit of the work:

Life, we all experience it. But do we ever really appreciate it’s nature? It slips through our fingers without really seeing what is there moment by moment.

You see, but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (Sherlock Holmes) A Scandal in Bohemia, 1892

As an artist, I have the obligation to observe, interpret, and present in such a way so that those who only see, can see more. I believe that life has an inherent dignity, the underlying nature of which is an eternal causal connection with everything else.

As a maker of things, I take materials that already have a life and I form, assemble, re-shape them into something that has never existed before. This new object can form connections that have never existed before that transcend the materials and processes that brought it into being. Consider wood as an example. There just isn’t anything else that can convey the sense of life that wood does. Looking at the wood, I see the tree, a living organism. I am looking at another unique life and I want to bring that out. I want to share it with others. The “defects,” marks, and striations all tell the story of the life of that tree. The struggles, injuries and triumphs over adversity are all recorded. As I transform the tree, I hope others will be able to connect with us and appreciate that eternal connection.

 So it is with other materials as well, though the past life may be more obscure, it must be there or it could not exist in it’s present form now.

How it’s done:

I seem to be surrounded by the detritus of life. While I do purchase new raw materials at times, most of my creative ventures begin with something I’ve found, saved, or salvaged. Often, those things don’t really inspire me, though there must be something there that keeps it from the trash or recycle pile. When I have an idea I wish to express, or a form or image I wish to create, I go through my bins, stacks, piles, drawers of stuff, as a painter goes through his tubes of paint and I create a pallet of material, texture, color that I can then manipulate form or assemble to create the final object. All of my work is done by myself alone though some components may be found or purchased.

What it is:

My work varies from the practical, functional object to the purely conceptual creation. But even a simple wooden bowl can reveal the connections of a family that grew up playing in the branches of the tree that eventually became the bowl that holds a memento of one who has passed. Pieces of past lives in the form of common objects, combine to form my vision of what is yet to be. In the end, it is the observer that determines what it is, and why.      

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