Senden Blackwood knows all too well that sculpture allures touch, however unlike most, he embraces this. Taking queues from artists such as Clement Meadmore and Keizo Ushio, Blackwood’s carved stone sculptures defy their weighty medium through manipulations in shape, creating lucid curves and fluid forms. As he carves such irresistible shapes out of materials that beg for a connection beyond the ocular, Blackwood himself indulges in caressing his work. As he explains, “…I experience great satisfaction in the tactile quality of smooth stone and love to see people compelled to touch my work; to me, this is the greatest compliment.”
Left: Senden Blackwood, ‘amaagari’ 2011, carved limestone, 25 x 57 x 36cm
Right: Senden Blackwood, ‘anara’ 2011, carved granite, 60 x 24 x 18cm
These calm and quiet works often contain elements of texture to further encourage a physical artwork-audience connection. Blackwood’s piece ‘amaagari,’ carved out of limestone, has a flawless smooth exterior that cups a textured center. This texture has been created by hand through hundreds of tiny hemispherical indentations that peter out as they reach the top of the work. The stark contrast between this rough, bumpy surface to the cold, smooth polished outside creates a wonderful tactile juxtaposition.
Senden Blackwood, ‘min’ (two views) 2011, carved basalt, 33 x 22 x 26cm
Complying with the nature of sculpture, Blackwood’s works are intentionally created to be viewed from five angles. His smaller works, however, are also made to be moved into a multitude of positions, with no front, back, top or bottom. An example of this is Blackwood’s work ‘anara‘ that featured in his 2011 exhibition ishi as a wall mounted-piece. ‘anara‘ has recently been sitting in the centre of the table in the Gallery on it’s side, curled over like a fallen leaf. Another example is ‘min,’ which also featured in the 2011 show. The positioning of ‘min‘ changed throughout the duration of the exhibition, providing fresh experiences and encounters of the work.
Blackwood’s most recent sculpture in the Gallery, ‘okyo‘ featured in the Major Artists, Major Works exhibition. This work, with its highly polished surface, was set against the industrial cement floors of the Gallery, providing an interesting contrast. Mirroring all that came within meters of the piece, this work had an ever-changing surface of reflections. In September this year, ‘okyo‘ will be interacting with a very different landscape at the Hidden Sculpture Walk in the cemetery at Rookwood.
Left: Senden Blackwood, ‘okyo’ 2012
carved basalt, 65 x 110 x 77cm