Smoking Man: Lime Wood Carving, 2015.

 

There’s something a bit haunting and lonely about this piece.

I purposefully meant for him to stand apart from everything I had been doing, as if he was the embodiment of the outsider. Unlike most of my figures, this is an allegorical figure, not an exact portrait of a individual subject.

I wanted to follow the face and see where it would lead me, but at the same time resist the urge to polish that I usually indulge in my sculpture. The result was someone I did not know appearing out of the wood; as I carved, I decided who I wanted him to be.

I saw a worn down company man, mostly there but not entirely, waiting to be filled with whatever you expect to see inside and taking up less space than he wants to.

It was a bit like telling myself a short story.

Smoking Man. Lime wood carving with paper and graphite by Lee Devonish, 2015
Smoking Man. Lime wood carving with paper and graphite, 2015

Materials with their own truths

The thin slivers of coloured paper wedged between the raw wood blocks point to the shared origins of both materials and their differing end points, as well the level of refinement each material has received and its perceived importance in the structure.

I enjoy relating this lamination of materials to the seams of difference that run through us, whether in the form of feelings, ambitions or a sense of identity.

 

Smoking Man. Lime wood carving with paper and graphite by Lee Devonish, 2015.
Lime wood carving with paper and graphite, 2015

Planes, imperfections and crossed directions

We are all composites of parts that come from the same source but don’t quite fit, and our grain might not run in exactly the same directions within us. Cut us apart and we are cobbled together with pieces that are hopefully assembled, with the spaces between being sometimes as precious as the solid parts that surround and consume space.

Or perhaps we started whole, and lost something along the way?

 

Read the story behind Smoking Man - Lime wood carving with paper and graphite, 2015. By Lancashire artist Lee Devonish.

This piece is available to buy direct or from Etsy.

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