Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sculpture: Ancestral Stories

This sculpture was inspired by the many fascinating petroglyphs that can be found not just here in Albuquerque, but around the world. Before cyberspace, before paper, there was the process of recording one's vision, one's concepts, one's ideas ... in stone. Designs and symbols were meticulously chipped out of solid stone, exposing lighter layers below the oxidized surface, communicating... what? There are many theories about the content these petroglyphs were meant to communicate, but they could well have been, as this sculpture suggests, stories - Ancestral stories.
This mixed media Shamanic sculpture , created in 1995, stands 34 3/4" tall, including the walnut base. I started with a plank of wood, and carved it to look like stone formations - perhaps those that may be seen in a cliff or mountainside. When I felt the shapes were about right, I painted the wood with a combination of gesso mixed with sand, to give it more of the texture of stone. This was followed by many layers and washes of acrylic artists' color to stain and color and glaze the surface to look more like oxidized stone.

I then proceeded to engrave petroglyphs of my own design (no attempt to be historically accurate here - they are a composite of the many shapes I have studied) into the surface of the "stone".
The endcaps that contain the top & bottom ends of that monolithic section are hand hammered brass, with triangular accents in copper, brass and gold soldered in place to form a pattern on the surface. The arms and legs of the piece are ebonized birch, and the hands are handcrafted in bronze. The face is composed of turquoise mosaic, hand-cut and pieced together over a carved stone face, ground smooth and polished as one stone. the staff is wood, with bronze and copper accents. Additional bezel-set turquoise stones have been added as accents - one in the approximate location of the heart, and another on the walnut base. The artist's signature plate and title plate complete the base.

This piece sold to one of my good collectors in the Eastern U.S. The price of that one was about $4800 back in '95, but a similar piece - a variation on the theme - can be made for a higher price today. Contact me for details at (505) 296-1400, or Email me at: David (at) StewartArt (dot) com.


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  1. Wow, David! This is exraordinary...the detail and the various aesthetics that make up the whole piece...wonderful!

  2. David, I stumbled upon your blog today and have been enjoying your work immensely this afternoon. Thank you for sharing - beautiful.beautiful.beautiful.

  3. Sorry about the delayed reply, but thank you so much!!!

  4. Sorry about the delayed reply, but thank you so much!!!