What is the essence of your art form?
My focus over the past six years has been creating three-dimensional abstract representations. Certain shapes of wood given to me, salvaged, or found stimulate a conceptual image and serve as a foundation for the gathering of other pieces, which allows the completion of what it is I am seeking to convey.
Many people in retirement feel the need and responsibility to “give back to the community.” As an artist are you drawn to this calling?
Trained as a physician, and accustomed in my thirty-five-year career to daily interaction with patients, turning my avocation as a plein air painter into a retirement vocation as an assemblage artist, was a significant interpersonal adjustment. I quickly realized the isolating capacity of self-involvement in pursuing art full time and the need to integrate and share my interests in interactions with others. I would like to work with individuals or groups to demonstrate how given similar materials, they are likely to utilize them in dissimilar ways. With the ample wood collections I have, I will look for venues where this can be realized in order to incentivize others to explore this realm of self-expression.
Using repurposed wood that may have an invisible patina of mold or mildew, have you encountered situations where those who have acquired your work have developed sensitivities or had allergic reactions when the work is hung inside?
Only in one instance, and it apparently stemmed from a small section of woven wood fiber taken from discarded ornate furniture. The issue arose one day after being hung in the purchaser’s home. Servpro was called, and their treatment resulted in my having to do warranty work of sorts with glue and matchsticks at some distance on-site.
Image at top: Andre Benoit, Secrets Whispered In A Highchair, wooden assemblage, 14 x 13 x 7.5 in., 2021.