Enjoy artist David Lee Moneypenny’s unusual take on found object design. Visit his website to see more of his fascinating portfolio.
Decades of art skills and woodworking skills are evident in every piece of my work. As a materials artist, I reclaim materials and use them in unconventional ways. I am drawn to salvaged and found raw materials because they have a history, a prior life, or an event that changed their form. My work is based in minimalism; my goal is to reduce each piece to a simplified form, yet the viewer needs to look past the glossy finish into the layers of the piece.
I like to explore and invent new uses for old materials. For example, flags can be made out of tree bark and latex caulk, or screening with paint and metal fragments, and become aesthetically beautiful. Bringing these naturally occurring objects into the polished world sets up many issues about our relationship with nature and what we do with raw and discarded materials.
Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and the lyrics of Bob Dylan have all influenced my art. I like the sense of humor that is outside of the box, an edgy sarcasm with a little bite. An out of order look, objects not in their proper place, appeals to me. The contrast of materials and textures has always driven my art. Materials that are foreign to each other enhance the properties of one another; neon and sticks, rocks and painted metal, sanded bark and varnish, screening and paint, or bark and caulk.
The nature wall relief series expands on Rauschenberg’s “Combines” but I take it off in a new direction. In this series, I take the actual materials that once made up the landscape, and I build or arrange them into landscapes or still life paintings.
The found pieces of nature are used to address order, chaos, and man’s attempt to control nature. All of these pieces are made from found raw materials such as fallen branches, bark and rotted wood and naturally fractured stones. I highly refine them by manipulating, sculpting, and polishing them to bring out the beauty of their previous lives. This manipulation gives them an entirely new purpose and a new identity.
With my newest work, the Crashed Furniture series, I precisely re-purpose crashed automobile parts and reclaimed wood into fine art, functional sculptures. Traditionally art is not meant to be touched, but these unorthodox pieces challenge the viewer to redefine what art is and urge their interaction.
Although my intent is art first, furniture second, these pieces are to be touched. The viewer is drawn in to explore not only the materials but how the wood is formed to follow the curve of the crashed metal. The discarded objects and raw materials find a new life and purpose when combined. Again, I am highly refining raw materials; polishing these abandoned objects in a physical sense; elevating diverse objects to the same level.
The overarching issue of the nature pieces and the crashed furniture pieces deal with our relationship with the material world and how we repair the damage we do on a daily basis, and how much effect we have on the earth as the out-of-control dominant species.
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