Seattle-based sculptor Michael Alm forms lifelike animal sculptures from carved and shaved wood, often adding realistic features such as glass eyes to complete the anatomical studies. The works imitate the natural gestures of the animals he sculpts, such as “Jack Rabbit (Lepus Californicus),” which captures the animal in mid-run.
By presenting the animal in movement we are better able to see the tension explored through thin wood strips that gracefully cross over and under each other like muscular fibers. “The gaps in the veneer accentuate the tension in the form while lightening the visual weight of the creature,” he tells Colossal. “In this piece (Jack Rabbit), I’ve highlighted the elements which contribute directly to the animal’s movement and eliminated any excess. As a result, the form looks both strong and delicate much like the animal itself.”
Alm is also a furniture maker by trade, and the byproducts of this work serves as the bulk of the material for his sculptures. After milling wood he has plentiful strips to reuse in his sculptures. “These strips are extremely flexible and when layered up they remind me of muscle and sinew,” he continues. “The more I played with this material, the more I realized the amazing number of ways it could be used.”