wire sculpture process

I have always been attracted to making figurative work because of my love of the human form and my fascination with physical, intellectual, and emotional interactions. The figure has been used to tell the stories of most cultures for thousands of years. Among the most compelling cultural records using the figure for me are the Pre-Columbian and Egyptian tombs, Indian temples, and European churches. Though I can never have the direct experience of these cultures, their figurative art draws me through its power to evoke reactions, feelings, and memories of my own.


In my own art I create figurative sculptural works that evoke meaning for the viewer through a broadly defined narrative intent. We live in a world of innumerable cultures, languages, and beliefs. What we ultimately share is our humanity, and my goal is to resonate with others across our particular belief systems.


To make my sculptures I begin with individual figures “drawn” with steel wire. Wire is an excellent medium for me to create expressive gestures in a direct and rapid way. I group the figures until I achieve a formal balance to the composition, refining the overall look of the piece rather than what story it might be telling. This includes the beauty of a line or a curve in a single body, as well as the progression of the hands or feet through the whole composition. At the same time, I think about each figure’s gestural expression, and how the figures appear to interact with one another. My sculptures communicate on multiple levels through compositional and figurative dynamics and invite viewers into the work to add their own meaning.


—Pamela Merory Dernham