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Will Fair

For those suffering from depression, no matter what the cause, the subject is often tricky to discuss meaningfully. People tread lightly around the taboo, and most will avoid discussing it altogether. But the conversation needs to be had, and I want to explore it. Understanding depression will be key to handling it, which in my case involves forging wrought iron as art therapy. 

I purposely break the iron to achieve fractures and tears; enough to be catastrophic, but not broken. It’s a “characteristic” material, since the production is usually imperfect and the structure is uniquely wood-like with layers and grain. Thus, each piece has its own say in its outcome. This trait reflects our human condition, and I use it to embody depression – particularly grief – where the damage represents mental stress, with designs inspired by dark and disturbing imagery. 

‘Wounds’ Series 

Using my personal experiences of grief, these objects are an exploration of metal as index. Indexical meaning is where the signifier is evidence of the signified. For example: where there’s smoke, there’s fire. This series applies that logic physically, where the dish in the centre and the cracks across it are evidence of impact and stress. Thus the result reveals the process. These metallic ‘wounds’ are an embodiment of my process of grief; catastrophic fractures where there’s been anguish, reforged and reformed where there’s been healing. Wrought iron purposely damaged. 

‘Nightmare Tree’ 

A sculptural imagining of one of Zdzisław Beksiński’s works, the original is actually untitled (all of his are) but is often referred to as the ‘Nightmare Tree’. The dystopian artwork disturbs the viewer with a distorted expression of a tree stretching across a barren landscape with no natural colours, an unknown crescent linked to something beyond the scene sits beneath the towering monolith. Inspired by the lack of title and the surreal mystery of the piece, I’ve used the form in a material response to similarly disturbing and dark emotions that I want to safely project and hopefully alleviate. Wrought iron and rusted steel purposely damaged and weathered.  

Dissertation – Metal as Index: Memory and Process