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The Work

While machines have become essential expressions of our utilitarian and industrial impulses, my inquiries into design and the human condition find language in the machinery of automata, toys, and amusement. I examine and exploit the idea of sympathetic machinery: mechanical systems that, by virtue of their rhythms or aesthetic, achieve a sort of kinship with the human psyche.

This approach is exemplified in my treatment of the human figure in motion: its elegance and power compel me to fashion the moving body (or parts of it) in materials that include gear and lever, cam, crank, and wheel. For me, machinery becomes the central metaphor of figurative sculpture, to the extent that machine elements are not only expressive, but voluptuous. My intent is to enlist clockwork as a storyteller or choreographer that translates raw mechanical force into brief depictions of beauty and whimsy in the moving human form.

Similarly, my utilitarian design habits seem to be infused with a sort of mecho-toon sensibility. A radio or a clock, for example, I regard as machinery, treating these appliances with industrial materials, blocky shapes, and a stout philosophy of manufacture. Other pieces are more in the music-box vein, celebrating motion and cartoon form.

My vision in all of this is an apparatus that emerges somewhere between tin toy and laboratory instrument: an attempt to utilize the cold syntax of the machine to create work that expresses organic motion, feeling, and humor.

Mark Galt
February 2014

Valentine 02