joseph holmes



City

LINCOLN

State

NE

Zip

68502

Artist's Statement

This recent work is an attempt to synthesize the orthodoxy of high modernism with the decentralized, counterculture values of the Back to the Land movement. While these two overlapping, but seemingly disparate movements had different founding ideals and prescriptions for change, they shared ambitious utopian goals, and the ultimate failure of these utopias makes them compelling and instructive. I work primarily in softwoods--construction lumber--cedars, and firs not traditionally used for fine furniture. They’re unassuming, cheap and easy to find in my area of the country--a modern American vernacular material--which is perhaps why they were recommended in late 20th century publications that encouraged self-reliance by building one’s own furniture. These utilitarian woods suggest accessibility, both physically and philosophically, and a flattening of social and economic hierarchies. I carefully select and mill material for tight, straight, grain. My intent is to maintain the material integrity of wood, while avoiding distracting or uniquely attractive grain patterns. By doing so I attempt mimic modernist design--materials that appear unassuming and plain upon first glance but reveal character and visual interest the as one spends time with them.

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