Stephan Fowlkes

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Pure geometry has long been part of my aesthetic vocabulary, predominantly since I started working with wood over a decade ago. Initially, I was interested in the mechanics of interpersonal dynamics, using the Jungian archetypes of the circle and square representing Woman and Man respectively. The complexities of human interaction translated to elaborate overlays and interweavings of patterns and systems on wood assemblages. Over time, this gave way to a more formal interest, where the material of wood itself became the primary subject and aesthetic concern.

Wood is an organic material, and it is in juxtaposing this property with the process of working with wood that leads largely to geometric forms: right angles, 45 degree angles, etc. Just look at the architecture all around. Furthermore, most of my material is reclaimed from dumpsters at demolition sites in my neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the old—often 100 year old—houses made largely of wood are being torn down to make way for the new architecture. Often this wood is of a quality no longer readily available. Paying respect to these secondary origins—the wood was a tree prior to a building material— my work has taken on an architectural quality, taking on the qualities of the new architecture: clean, minimalist, geometric. The juxtaposition between the organic and the geometric is an essential factor in the work: Yin and Yang, circle and square, natural and manmade.

The material informs the work as much as the driving idea and resulting outcome; it is a dialogue between my intentions and the properties and limitations of the wood.

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