Matt Werner

Artist Statement

My sculptures are unique in that they are sculpted from hardwoods. Americans enjoy the warmth and beauty of fine hardwood furnishings, but the material has all but disappeared from our fine figural art. So, my objective is to develop techniques for using hardwood grains in figural sculpture.

Although the inherent toughness of the material makes it hard to shape, I prefer it over softwoods traditionally used by American woodcarvers because of the range of colors, the strong grain patterns, and the durability of the final sculpture. Using hardwoods in conjunction with American-style wood carving, I can produce art in which the character and being of the wood engage the viewer and enhance his or her involvement with the form. The wood’s color, grain, rays, curls and burling give vitality and warmth that cannot be equaled in bronze, clay, or stone.

To me, my sculptures appear as snapshots of the human experience—what it’s like to be human in all its different dimensions. Since my subjects are taken from the human experience, the vitality and warmth of the wood is essential to my sculptures’ believability.