Energy is difficult to define or describe, we cannot see it or touch it, and yet it is the driving force in all aspects of life as we know it. As a human we can understand energy and feel its presence, we can harness it to our own benefit, and yet the exchange and release of energy is generally beyond our control. In its most primal example, the universe, under conditions of extreme pressure and density, underwent a violent release of energy to form the galaxies, stars, and planets as we know them today. Shaping, creating, destroying, energy is both invisible, and omnipresent.
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Within nature, it is exchanged through innumerable and immeasurable pathways. Life within the forest is ultimately guided by the energy that forests are able to derive from the sun. Through symbiotic relationships between tree roots and soil fungi, nutrients for life and communicative electrical impulses are shared between individual trees, creating a network of energy distribution. Windstorms will batter and lightning strike, releasing energy and reducing standing trees to jagged trunks and downed limbs. Their nutrients will be redistributed, and the forest canopy will open creating space for new life, for reorganization.
Sometimes the balance of energy is swayed by the human hand. When Brent was a young man visiting family property in Saltair, on Vancouver Island, he would be tasked with felling the Alder trees and splitting them up for winter use. He has distinct memories of the thud and crack as the axe landed, tearing the wood fibers. He recalls the sweet aroma released by the chopped Alder, and being covered in aphids that had made home in the tree. He still loves that feeling of the axe cleaving the wood, of the sudden burst of power that randomly divides a solid piece into new forms.
Many years later in the studio, Brent revisited the idea of those split pieces but with a focus on methods of re-assembly, methods of self-expression through organization. He also wanted to honour the memory of splitting wood, the physicality of it, the buildup of heat and energy within the body, and convey that in the work. The shattered table was the first piece inspired by this process. By assembling different sized and shaped pieces of wood, random patterns were formed, zigzagged and irregular. Through the restructuring of a seemingly random pile of wood, a work of organized chaos emerges. The final result captures and conveys the process, and the energy required to conceive and create.
With the Illuminated Shattered Disk, the concept of released energy is taken one step further. Light radiates from within the piece; it is seemingly bristling and bursting with electricity. LED lighting, embedded behind the disk, reflects off the wall and glows through the warm wood. It is almost as though this piece were caught in an instant, a snapshot in time, an exact moment of violent creation.
As seen in nature, from the molecular level to forest dynamics, life constantly divides and reforms and makes new again. The natural process of division and reformation is what defines the Shattered Sphere. Seen at dusk, the sphere comes alive. The fine detail is lost and the shape remains, as the light begins to emerge. Resembling known three-dimensional shapes such as the earth or the opening shell of a chestnut, the shattered sphere exudes the energy of creation through the light, escaping through the cracks. It is a form that represents energy in the midst of organic reorganization.