A Vocabulary of Trees
Robert Braczyk’s recent body of work represents a deep integration of many aspects of his abilities and experience. As a committed environmentalist he hopes that these sculptures provoke fresh insights into the trees around us.
In these pieces he has taken the breakthroughs that Picasso and Gonzalez made with open form, welded iron and applied them to wood. The change in material is a fundamental difference. Iron as a plastic material can be melted, poured, fused, hammered, drawn, or bent into a vast number of shapes. Wood offers different, fewer options for fabrication. In particular, the upper branches of trees that Mr. Braczyk chooses provide a material that comes with its own distinct structure. They are a raw material that has been alive and has come into existence through the dictates of their own DNA and by responses to environmental factors.
In general, trees are more about length than width and therefore provide a variety of long tapering rods, sweeping curves and forked joints, sometimes all together. In the hands of a skilled worker mutability is, of course, possible but nature’s characteristic growth patterns assert themselves, and making sculpture from such components invariably becomes a dialogue with nature. This persistence of character suggests to the artist “a vocabulary of trees” analogous to linguistic elements that make sentences and paragraphs. Similarly these wooden morphemes can be recombined to make original structures.
At a time in the art world when bigger has become an aesthetic quality and sculpture can often be architectural in experience, Mr. Braczyk chooses to make intimate sculpture that can be looked into rather than out of. He believes that there is no great difference in the artistic value of a piece based on its size. The small scale also allows him to maintain better control of the process.
Three dimensionality is key here. These pieces are designed to be experienced from multiple angles and at varying distances. To suggest their complexity this website illustrates each with at least two views. They are of course best experienced in real life where they can be seen in the round.