In Hermetic alchemy, “sal” is the mystic principle of transformation. Salt also represents the body and ritual. I make salt and glass sculptures that are alchemic altars to geologic time, existential phenomenology, and nature’s processes on physical material.
The sculptures are indicative of the erosion of the earth, and erosion of the body, through trauma and time. They are alchemical transmutations between states of being.
They are initially deconstructed from fifty pound salt licks used for livestock supplements. Rigid and compact in their factory state, I use a hammer and chisel to geometrically work away at the salt in patterns before further carving them with pressurized water. This carving process is violent and intense. The finished works have fractal textures of Western canyons, exaggerated bone marrow, and glacial ice.
The salt is unstable and fragile during the later stages of the water carving process. Three out of four collapse into fragments just approaching their completion as a final, larger work. I further sculpt large fragments into completed small works, honoring the symbolic fracture as part of a larger alchemic cycle. As the salt dries, it cures to a porcelain-like hardness. As salt is a preservative, the works are stabilized by their own chemical properties.
Small works are cast in glass. Milk-white and semi-opaque glass replicates the color, texture, and translucence of the salt original. The transformation from salt, into molten glass, and back into a solid state furthers the alchemical transmutation process. This glass double is now the new body, permanently changed through ritualized actions and time.
Paired with rough-hewn raw pine plinths, the salt elicits stoic aspects of New England Puritan minimalism and Shaker spiritualism. Paired with Carrera marble, the salt is an altar to time and the seductive tactility of classical stone.