Inspired by natural bone forms, rural technology, and geometric structure, Sam Spiczka has produced an unsettling body of work that is both modern and intensely primal, public yet deeply personal.
Born and raised in rural Minnesota, Spiczka became captivated by metal early on through the experience of working at his family’s welding shop. Though he briefly studied art and philosophy at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, his true education has come from Nature, the example of past sculptors, and the craftsmanship of his father. His award winning sculptures have been exhibited nationally – including at DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Rochester Art Center and Franconia Sculpture Park – and can be found in many public and private collections.
Spiczka’s tenable use of bone structure, actually pressed into hyper-realist form from layers of sheet steel, finds the natural in conflict with the industrial. ‘Portal’ might arguably reflect rural technology, but the sheer strangeness and slippage between organic, mechanic and iconic gives the piece a more instinctually alien impression, the symmetrical shape (clearly mirroring the pelvis) and wirelike hanging fronds seemingly sourced from science-fiction.
Title: Relic V
Artist: Sam Spiczka
Spiczka’s ‘Relic’ is derived from dual childhood experiences; the discovery, capture of and occasional matchbox-marvelling at a bleached, jewel-like skeleton from a boar in Minnesota, and the wild young imaginings of crusted religious relics — fingers, skulls, bodily appendages — often rumoured to be sat rotting within his attended school church. Interrogating that disconnection between experience and imagination, ‘Relic V’ ghosts the loaded and significant form of the crucifix and the skeletal structure of man, an impression of bone or wood afforded through the delicate pressing, welding, and oxidation of steel sheets. The celebration of harmonic structure, abstract symbolism, an instrument-like form and balance is met with a far messier reality of pain, suffering and death.