I am glad I wasn't too late because it was one of the best workshops I've ever taken. We transformed ordinary, in some cases extraordinary, boxes, containers and found objects into strange and compelling works of art. Michael has a great spirit and I learned a lot. Not the least, I faced my fear of power tools. In truth, I didn't actually use any. After improperly locking a cutting tool on a dremel and have it fly off a few feet, I got an itty bit nervous and asked someone to kindly cut something for me. Okay, I'm a wimp, but now I see the amazing options in using these tools and I'm psyched to try again. I may even go off and spend a few hours just slicing up cutlery for the heck of it.
My piece above was meant to hold the ceramic figurine I made a few years ago. When I came home, I scrounged around my house for more things to add to this assemblage and the ceramic piece has now just become part of the narrative. I'm a pushover for narrative. Not narrative that is obvious or definite, but ambiguous, mysterious and layered. That's why I was taken by Michael de Meng's work when I first came across it several months ago. His transformations of objects into a strange new reality are mesmerizing. Bits and pieces of junk and often some interesting obscure paraphernalia are made into a haunting, cohesive whole. When you examine them closely you notice more details emerging from murky depths of oily and rusty paint finishes. Far more articulate reading about his work can be found here. He is also the author of Secrets of Rusty Things: Transforming Found Objects into Art.
Also check out his blog for the video of his recent trip to the Dead Doll Island in Mexico. Bizarre. We're planning a Mexican trip soon, I'm disappointed we'll be nowhere near this place, although my daughters are more than relieved.
Here's a few examples of de Meng's work: