The Yawner, 2016 • 129 Main Street @ Bank Square Coffee House Patio
In The Yawner I am exploring the effect that public sculpture, oversized and often imposing in scale and subject matter, can have on a viewer. Yawning is a tremendously ordinary phenomenon. It is an involuntary reaction that is also contagious. Why is a yawn so suggestible? Theories abound: it is an expression of empathy, it cools the brain, it can signify boredom, a lack of oxygen or an excess of fatigue or it can feel satisfying in a jaw-stretching way.
Yawns seem to transfer between humans, even between humans and animals. I wondered if it could transfer between a figurative sculpture and a human, in the way we are more traditionally impressed by feelings of awe when viewing a public sculpture. The contrast between that – a recognition of a noble accomplishment – and something as simple as a yawn, is what my piece is about. Does a large, carved yawn elicit one in return? Does this mean the piece is boring or successful? I am interested in the potential for that interaction.