JLM :Your work has been popular with our patrons who are acquiring work for private collections. Can you give us some insight into your work as it applies to public art settings?
MC: Whether my work is placed in a public, corporate or private space, it always creates a space of its own. You don't need to have an area mapped out in advance to place a piece. The presence of Sculpture creates the necessary space. My work is very human, in scale, and that adds a new level of interactivity and uniqueness to any environment. It has the power to draw diverse people closer and give them an immediate shared experience. I have come to understand and appreciate that once a piece is placed, its life begins. It activates a place and motivates the people whom it touches in a variety of ways. I'm always surprised by the feedback that I receive. For example, a little over a year ago I was approached by a photographer. He told me that he had been doing a series of photo shoots featuring professional dancers using "Dawn" as a prop. People seem to embrace the work, and each person has their relationship with it.
JLM: Discuss the piece, In the Garden
MC: My fascination with symbolism in art began with medieval paintings and works explicitly from the Dutch Renaissance. In The Garden is a direct example of how this fascination has influenced and inspired my work. The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Heironymous Bosch seemed almost surreal to me when I first saw it. I learned that each of the multitude of objects; creatures, flora, and fauna depicted in the painting were symbolic of a greater idea. Some of the symbolism is lost to us, but there is much discussion about the possible interpretations of each object depicted. In the central panel on the lower left-hand side you will see several disproportionately large birds. Even though the painting was created over 500 years ago, the birds are recognizable. I decided to see if I could identify some of the birds. I found a hoopoe, a kingfisher, and this ridiculously large European goldfinch. I decided that my monumental scale strawberry sculpture, titled The Rogue Berry needed a companion piece, and set out to sculpt the goldfinch. I took the approach of polishing the areas of the bird that would be tan colored naturally. Where the coloring would be white, red, black or yellow, the bird's coloration is created using a combination of traditional and contemporary patination techniques. The bird sits atop a polished bronze egg-shaped platter. Both pieces are cast via the lost wax , and they are hand finished, polished and polychromed. In The Garden is a limited edition of 22.
JLM: Comment on your Constellation Works
MC: My love of mythology inspires the constellation pieces and how, from the earliest records we can find, human beings have been fascinated with the stars and sky. We have engaged in calendaring and creating entirely exclusive cosmologies based on the same star patterns. Different stories to explain life and how to live it, based on the same star. In these pieces, I marry symbols from a variety of sources, creating an object which can the viewer can decode.
Example, the western constellation of Scorpius is related to the Boar in Chinese astrology. Using the star pattern for Scorpius as a pattern over the body of the boar brings the two together in a new way that is inclusive of a more significant experience. Many times I will add other symbols that create more complex relationships between the symbols, and allow the viewer to read the work for themselves. In this way, the pieces take on a life of their own and become interactive.
In the case of DreamKeep, there is also a moon, the upside-down triangle is symbolic of water and a Hai 豬. DreamKeep carries the alchemical sun on his back, and a raven sits on top. This element disguises the secret that the piece is a sort of one-way piggy bank — a vessel for ideas.