Portrait of Mass and Columnar
Corten steel, stainless steel,
H.1200 X 600mm X 600mm
Proudly presented in association with Gow Langsford Gallery
David McCraken’s work unveils an intriguing balancing act between the blunt, raw physicality of his material and the more sensorial effects of elegant form and height. Taking the familiar monumental form of the monolith, Portrait of Mass and Columnar towers above us as we move around it, nestled like a pillar amongst the natural rigidity of the surrounding Kauri trunks and native bush.
The industrial material weathering steel has arguably become the new bronze in sculpture; giving a sense of age and permanence through a rich and rusted surface. McCraken’s planar hunk of steel features a burnished Binish that suggests age, the enduring monument.
In his act of manipulating mundane steel materials, McCraken has cleft the surface of the work with fissures that are deep and savage. The steel is twisted and torn as if it were mere clay, a feat of workmanship; becoming a refined study of negative and positive space. The force used to create these jagged cracks remains elusive to the viewer - perhaps a cataclysm of extreme heat, or the weight of load-bearing forces. Earlier works fissured in this manner produced a more logical suggestion of thrust and weight that resulted in arched forms. Portrait of Mass and Columnar, although impressive with its towering strength, does not evoke the same feeling of stress and manipulation. Like the splitting of firewood with cracks and gaps, McCraken undermines the strength of his material, an ironic aside about the rigid properties of steel.