Metal In Motion:
Curtis Archer Sculpture
June 8 – September 26, 2016
The gracefully fluid forms of Curtis Archer are the subject of this year’s summer sculpture exhibition “Metal in Motion” at the Cedarburg Art Museum. This Wisconsin sculptor from Lake Geneva creates his impressive large-scale sculptures by cutting, forming and welding pieces of heavy gauge aluminum sheet into curvilinear forms and then combining these forms into one unified element.
Archer’s sculptural pieces appear to represent a moment frozen in time. The individual elements in each sculpture seem to be in the process of coming together to create one unified form. The artist describes this as a convergence of elements that creates balance. Archer goes on to say that part of this balance is achieved by juxtaposing positive spaces, which are the individual elements that make up the sculpture, and negative spaces which are the empty spaces that are framed by the positive space. In essence, the sculptor’s positive and negative spaces create a symbolic relationship between the known and unknown in an effort to express a personal sense of spirituality.
The complexity of shaping metal elements and then bonding them together requires the rigorous process of welding the seams together at 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The intense heat at the seams can warp the metal unless the welder follows a series of steps that controls and counters the warping tendencies that intense heat can cause. Once the pieces are successfully married, the process of the surface treatment begins and concludes when the desired texture and visual effect are accomplished.
Growing up in rural Iowa, Curtis Archer developed a deep appreciation for the shapes, forms and movement of natural elements in the landscape. This lifelong interest continues to influence his work. Archer was trained in art at the University of Northern Iowa and has spent many years creating both sculpture and commercial architectural and decorative metal work for private collectors as well as for office buildings and hospitals. Curtis Archer has been represented by Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Door County for many years.