Ronald V. sullivan | www.dancehillcollection.org 856.503.8937
I was drawn into sculpting more by accident than by design. One day, in 2007, while surfing the web I happened to come across a Shona sculpture, in stone, created by the hands of a Zimbabwean artist. I was immediately intrigued by the artistry, the craftsmanship, the imagination. Initially I wanted to import and sell Shona sculpture, exposing more people to this wonderful art; but that plan did not materialize and I ended up taking up sculpting stone myself.
After a relatively short time working with stone I started carving wood. It wasn’t that I had exhausted the possibilities of stone – I wasn’t even close to doing that, but I figured wood should perhaps be a little easier to manage in some respects. I started collecting wood from anywhere along the street where trees were being cut down. In short order I had collected a variety of woods. Black Locust wood was the first kind of wood I started carving; it turned out to be one of the hardest and toughest American woods! But the grain and color is certainly striking and eye catching.
Perhaps what intrigues me most about the ‘raw’ materials that I use is their ‘naturalness’ and abundance. Generally one does not have to heat, melt, paint, bend, or mix ingredients to bring the vision out of the raw material… it is there simply to be ‘worked’, although the ‘working’ of it may not be all that simple a task!
Although there is a distinctive warmth and sensuous feel that can only be felt (or more correctly stated ‘experienced’) by the sculptor as the wood or stone is being carved, I believe, by and large, that there is natural warmth and beauty the viewer experiences even without touching the work. One can often look at a sculpture and feel an immediate connection (or, hopefully not, perhaps dislike). It is amazing to realize what nature has blessed us with in the form of these natural elements, each with its own unique and distinctive form, color, tone, feel, smell and working properties. It’s as though each rough piece of wood or stone is awaiting the application of the artist’s peculiar vision of its potential to ‘come alive’.
After looking at a piece, sometimes a viewer may ask me ‘what is it?’, or ‘what does it represent?’ Although I may have had a certain idea or ‘vision’ or goal in mind, I don’t necessarily want the viewer to ‘see’ what I see, or ‘experience’ what it is that resonates with me… so my response usually encourages the viewer to perceive and experience the sculpture on their own unique terms, with no prompting from me.
I'm not constrained to work in any particular 'stylistic' format, so my sculptures will reflect that freedom of expression. If I can create something that starts to reveal the inner (or at least the less ‘seen’ or ‘less appreciated’) beauty of nature’s ‘raw’ materials, whether in or outside of the context of the viewers experiences or ‘sensibilities,’ then I think I’ve been successful in achieving my goal.
You can contact Ronald through email: email@example.com