Phototrope/Gravitrope • 2015 • 164 Main Street
This sculpture is about capturing a gesture. In the studio, I transform old metal tools and industrial relics into wax, so that I can bend, twist and form them freely by hand. This state of malleability allows me to manipulate and deform the object in an instinctual way that would be impossible in its metal state. This technique makes sculpting more akin to drawing – a loose practice that allows for spontaneity and evidence of the artist’s hand. Once the pieces are formed, they are cast in metal and returned to their original rigid material state. Phototropism and gravitropism are competing forces innature: one that uplifts objects towards the sun, and the other, a gravitational weight that pulls downward. This sculpture is about capturing those opposing forces. It represents all things, natural and inorganic, which rise proudly, and eventually corrode, erode and deteriorate. They are structures. They are flowers. They are people. They are simple gestures of rise and fall, of growth and gravity.
Charlie Engelman was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and moved to New York in 2006 to attend Skidmore College where he received his BFA, focusing on metal sculpture. Continuing his technical education, he worked as an apprentice to a metal sculptor for several years, and at Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry, where he fabricated large-scale cast metal sculpture. He currently lives in Beacon, New York where he shares a studio with two other artists. Throughout this time he has pursued his own sculptures and, along with several other Beacon artists, developed the community art event, Hefestus.