September 22-November 26 @ Umlauf Sculpture Garden
Saved from the Fire: Work by Hank Waddell
Working with wood forces me to recognize that it was once a living thing, a natural element that measures the passing of time. I first became aware of the tenuous relationship between time and nature as a child growing up in pine forests near Houston. Trees surrounded me and provided comfort in private moments. But as I matured, when industry began to decimate the woods in the name of development and my family was displaced, even I was seduced by the possibility of fortune in favor of nature. Even as the waves on the beach near DOW Chemical that replaced trees as our hangout broke glowing orangey-brown.
I explore this relationship between nature and industry in my sculpture. I approach a once livng and breathing thing and use my intuition and senses to bring new life to it, allowing it to continue to speak. I begin with "an Original", a branch or stump or root of a tree that finds me in my daily course. I rarely discover them and if I search they are elusive. I have to wait for them but when Originals find me, they are already laughing, crying, expressing something personal.
I bring the Original back to my studio to clean and study it. I live with it and over time I become emotionally connected to it. As I begin to feel safe enough to make changes to its surface, I intuitively relate to its texture, grain, flow and form. As I attempt to restore life to the Original, I hope to stimulate an intellectual response in the viewer that connects them to a sense of beginning and ending.