Artistfacts: David Altmejd
Terrifying and grotesque or seductive and captivating sculptures or should I say sculptural beings and their habitats. David Altmejd is a Canadian artist working in New York who creates large, masterfully made, highly distinctive works in which the use of varied, unconventional materials, the process of constructing the work generates the meaning. David Altmejd blends ideas of the infinitely large and the infinitely small. Materials used include plexiglass, beads, hair, epoxy, clay, mirrors, resin, imprints of his ear and hands, paint, glitter, wood, mirror….
For David Altmejd what is encouraged in art is the development/invention of language. The object is a made object, the artist’s hand is clearly visible, if not actually reproduced and applied to the sculpture, each step in the making dictates the next one. The various materials used that each behave in different ways force the work into a certain direction. Color is used to change the mood of the sculpture. He starts with figurative elements massed together that then become abstract, forcing you to look into the work to see the components, to delve into the habitats created.
David Altmejd wishes to make an object that will feel alive but is not representing life. A hole through the chest of a sculpture for example represents energy, life, the act of creation. Openings, orifices, emphasize the senses such as hearing or touch and importance of the body.
He accompanies most/all of his work with heads, which he sees as a form of drawing. The frame of the head combines the materials that are used in the main pieces.
David Altmejd’s work is fabulously creative, unnerving, breathtakingly complex and unique. One is seduced by the materials, the exuberance, the scale and mastery yet cringe at the symbols of decay, forced to always take at least one more look.