Casey McCafferty
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Cairn Chair

Stone cairns represent the demarcation of new paths forged. From ancient Egypt to the monolithic rune stones of the Viking Age, stone has represented a grounding element whose presence within art and culture has tied myriad societies to the earth and signified a deep spiritual connection to the landscape and past gods. Contemporaneously, the usage of stone within art still represents a romantic ideal, conjuring images of pristine, rugged wildernesses, and monumental structures dedicated to all-powerful deities, all the while offering tantalizing promises of journeys into the fog-shrouded landscapes of the picturesque. Like the Celtic word for stone (cairn) from which rugged backcountry trail markers are also named, the Cairn Chair represents an organic journey into a new wilderness of personal artistic discovery. Informed by Norse mythology, the chair’s form takes heavy inspiration from traditional Nordic motifs, conjuring images of serpentine figures and glyphic runes engraved onto the monumental faces of historic rune stones, rather than more traditional forms found in contemporary pieces of sculptural furniture. The dichotomy of textures–that of the walnut against stone–was a deliberate choice made in order to explore the harmonies that arise from the dialogue between the differences in their inherent characters. The final result is evident in both its visual appearance and tactile reality. Carved with a claw-toothed chisel, the stone leg remains both visually and textually rough: the stark chisel-lines juxtapose against the seamless continuity of the walnut, drawing the eye to the leg, and thus generating an anchor point from which the mass of the piece always returns. Unlike the stone, however, the walnut’s visual coarseness belies a tactile softness that proves inherent to the material. Made by immediately finishing the wood once carved, the grain of the wood remains gentle and light, offering a textural contrast to the solidity of the siltstone, further enriching the dialogue between the two disparate materials. This dialogue, when taken in totality, provides the work a greater sense of harmony, allowing the contrasting elements to work together to form a fluid, cohesive piece, as much seemingly carved by hand as by tidal forces of erosion. The Cairn Chair, while representing a new mode of stylistic articulation, ultimately represents a return to the organic connection with the landscape that inspired the first instances of sculptural expression and pulls me forward to explore new forms.
Green soap stone, Oiled Walnut
United States
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GBP 0.00 


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