Artist Dan Woodard’s expressive figurative sculptures connect with the viewer through shared experience and emotion. See more of his portfolio by visiting his website.
The sculptures I’m showcasing in this feature are from my “Heads and Hands” series.
I have always been fascinated by the expressive quality of faces and hands. I’m furthermore intrigued by the amount of emotion and depth that is conveyed by a seemingly blank expression on a person’s face.
No matter how little one imagines they are sharing their inner selves—their joy, anguish, fear, puzzlement, resignation, and a myriad of other possibilities are, unbeknownst to them, usually apparent. In my portraiture, I have attempted to capture the emotions that lie beyond a stoic countenance. This series also often incorporates disembodied hands to further highlight my subject’s underlying psychological state. These sculptures are generally titled only by a description, so the viewer is not forced into any preconception.
I began sculpting about thirteen years ago as I eased into retirement after a successful career as a script writer and director of film and video. The transition to sculpture was a fortuitous one. I’ve always been a creative person who was never happy unless I was making something.
As a young man I designed and built my own home entirely by hand and lived a sustainable, organic lifestyle in rural Massachusetts. During this time, I also worked as a fine art photographer with shows in New York, Boston and other East Coast cities. I wrote feature articles for magazines and exhibited my stained glass and ceramic work at art shows throughout New England. In my late thirties, I moved west to attend grad school at Stanford where I obtained an MFA in film.
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After many years as a filmmaker, I began channeling my creative energies into my love of sculpture.
In doing so, I drew from my own subconscious and my interest in the worlds of archetypes, myths and rituals to create both abstract and figurative pieces. The majority of my work arises from my memory, my imagination, my inner world and the spontaneous interaction with a variety of materials.
My work has been described as elegant, yet also earthy and powerful. My psychological and emotional state while I’m working are also strongly reflected in my sculptures. Some of my pieces express a calm, almost beatific sensibility; others display extreme disturbance and anguish.
My goal is to convey an emotion and a connection that transcend time and culture to bring artist and viewer into a shared inner space. I want the viewer to feel a sense of familiarity with the work; a sense of knowing, of understanding.
I believe this sense of déjà vu arises from a collective unconscious that is shared by all of us.
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