Writhe’s twisting and turning cast iron form was constructed directly from wax in a manner similar to the Biorhythm and Nucleus sculptures. Writhe is much more compact than the other two sculptures mentioned, coiling around itself tightly. Whereas the surface of the other two sculptures was covered in thin grooves, Writhe’s surface was left raw. The wax pattern was then cast in iron.
I was pleased with the random patterning of rust that appeared when applying the wet paper to both Skin and Herald. I decided to experiment with this method on a piece with a more dynamic shape.
The base for this sculpture was created from a cast slab of Portland cement. Like previous cement bases, this one was cast by using a Styrofoam pattern. In order to raise the slab off the ground, holes were melted in the bottom layer of foam, resulting in ¾ inch high cement feet of varying diameters and shapes. The foam pattern was also melted slightly in areas prior to casting to give the base the appearance of natural, weathered stone. After casting, the cement was patinated with layers of rust and vinegar solution. To visually separate the sculpture from its similarly colored base, a piece of vegetable-tanned leather was cut in a similar shape to the base and placed between the sculpture and its base. The leather was first brushed with a mixture of boiled linseed oil, copper oxide and iron oxide to darken the color. Then a solution of rust and vinegar was brushed onto the leather. Because of the oak tannins used in the vegetable-tanned leather, this rust/vinegar combination turns the leather black. The solution was then washed from the surface of the leather, revealing some of the brown coloration underneath.
Writhe’s form is condensed and its contorted, squirming form coils around an oblong bulb covered with small protrusions. The form twists and turns until a thin stalk emerges from the knot, culminating in a single decaying leaf that shelters three small oculus seeds that droop down from it. The seeds were carved from pecan wood.
The plant form seems to be in the throes of death, reacting visibly with pain like a writhing snake or worm but its wracked body still manages to produce and shelter a trio of small seeds; the last gasp of a dying organism.