This show developed from a very simple observation that has recurred repeatedly to me over the years – some contemporary sculptures are about as compelling as some rocks. Let me explain.
People get into rock and mineral collecting for different reasons. Some are interested in geology and science. Others approach it as investment or sport. But for me, as a youth in rural North Carolina, the appeal was purely aesthetic. The finest specimens were exceedingly beautiful in formal terms (color, texture and shape), but some were more than that. Occasionally the minerals were so unexpected and seemingly implausible they strained credibility, ultimately expanding my perception of the world. “No way that phosphorescent faceted structure of glowing color and refracted light was found in the dirt over there! You expect me to believe that shape-shifting chunk (mystical landscape, rococo cathedral, Jesus on the cross) came out of that muddy hole in the ground? Supernatural!” Mother Nature’s eccentric abstractions.
It can be similar with sculpture. Sometimes these manmade objects, like their natural counterparts, can shift our view and transport us. Artists mine the subconscious to excavate new material. Through experimentation using various materials and approaches they conjure new facts for our contemplation. Behold!
Rock Hound Swap Meet is a gathering of just some of the artists (both longtime and new friends) whose work I admire. Crucially, they all take risks in their art. And whether they work with metal or mushrooms, these artists are exceptional. They are explorers and alchemists all.
– Randy Wray