Artist Statement

This piece is third in an ongoing series of Industrial Oafs. The Oafs reflect industrial equipment seen through the abstractions of Minimalism and Pop. Industrial Oaf: Lifting Instability is a reflection of a tower crane. These objects stand as great monoliths of many urban landscapes. They tower as marvelous feats of engineering and fabrication, standing proud in the sky.

Lifting Instability plays with this concept by drastically scaling down the monumental status of a tower crane into a delicate playful size, the crane becomes approachable both physically and mentally. The parts of the crane are diluted to their basic geometric planar shapes. These shapes are skewed in a manner that disrupts their visual perspective in an effort to capture the optical distortion that happens when looking at large cranes from a close distance.

This piece is constructed in a process that shows off my skill and love of crisp, clean metal fabrication. This sculpture will be constructed of A588 weathering steel. With this material the sculpture will develop even, consistent rust. The aesthetics of even consistent rust is necessary to create the value shift that happens as light dances off the different planes of this sculpture.

The Oafs all portray a modern desire for exploration. As the machine objects that construct the roads and by ways of our ever-urbanizing world, they are the manufacturers of our explorative desires.


Artist Bio

Kevin Vanek was born and raised in Cleveland, OH, a great industrial city that for decades was known for the making of iron and steel products, a history that he honors with his craft. It is here, amongst the callused hands and rust stained clothes of hard working men and women, that Kevin began his exploration into the technically skilled world of custom hand manipulated metal work. Beginning by following the footsteps of his Father, Uncle, and Grandfather, Kevin had his first job at 14 as a maintenance man in the high-rise apartment complexes of East Cleveland. Further pursuing this passion he educated himself in welding, engine mechanics, and carpentry throughout high school. As only the second person in his family to go to college, Kevin struggled to find his place in collegiate academia. Soon though he followed his desires for creation and was introduced to metal casting and welded sculpture. Kevin received his BFA in 3-dimensional studies from BGSU and later his MFA in sculpture from ECU. Since then he has displayed work across the country, been an Artist in Residence in multiple programs, worked as a custom metal fabricator, and currently works as the Studio Technician/Adjunct Faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi & sits on the steering committee for the National Conference on Cast Iron Art and Practices.