At first glance Paul Donald’s sculptures are brightly colored, cheerful and toy-like. Yet, they are a little odd, inviting you to take a closer inspection. Shapes that resemble animals and machinery at the same time, even phallic. Are they some strange creatures? weapons? someone’s trophies? I watched over these sculptures during November’s Downtown LA Art Walk. The most asked question was, “what are they made of?”
They are wood sculptures made by whittling with the exception of the shield-like components. Small pieces assembled together to give more reference to toys that children assemble at play. Spray painted in bright colors, they have a sheen that confuses people into thinking they are made of plastic, or some other material. Only one person at Art Walk recognized the marks left by whittling.
Paul invites people to examine and question what these pieces are, challenging our perception, how we recognize objects, letting our imagination do the work. These deceptively simple objects are packed with symbolic meanings. For example the whittled pieces look organic, resembling a creature out of our wild fantasies. Yet, they are combined with these meticulously crafted shields (or crests,) sometimes like a collar, sometimes like a trophy. Crests were used to show the heritage and power of a family or kingdom. These neatly crafted shields also strongly display human attention. This combination of the wild and a show of human strength brings a degree of sadness to the toy-like creatures. Domesticating the nature.
October 29 – December 4, 2011
Read the press release. Hey, see, even the show title invites to wonder what it means. Wouldn’t, wooden?