Stuart Ross Snider
Northwestern University, M.D.
Thunderhead Press, Resident Artist
My sculpture is inspired by a primal force that exists within high altitude forests. Especially, there is a spirit in trees that reveals itself in objective form 10-50 years after it has been burned or died and fallen to the forest floor. The outer bark and pulp layers have decayed away. I harvest the nearly fossilized heartwood, which is partly buried in the earth beneath the natural detritus.
My work begins with the formal elements of the tree's inner core. The graceful and sweeping lines, flowing curves, and whorls of wood grain convey a unique archetype of artistic expression. There is a meaningful relationship between the inner, structural beauty and mystery of trees, and our own conscious and unconscious minds and spirit.
In my artwork, I use hand and power tools, a variety of pigments, paints, resin suspensions, and mica powders and holographic particles to develop layers of reflective patina. I construct individual pieces, which range from 6 inches to 15 feet, as well as installations. My sculpture is a means of recovering the inner spirit of the tree, bringing it to life again, and revealing its extant artistic form and meaning.
Personally, my re-creations of these trees are the most believable representation of life after death that I have encountered. I work intensely and intimately with the wood by hand my senses until its spiritual light scintillates anew -- a resurrected second life that is entirely different from the original tree.