Artist Statement and bio- Jack Mauch
Jack Mauch | Artist
Sandwich, NH, USA
My work in this exhibition features the use of wood veneer to create complex graphic surfaces with inspiration drawn from op art, tessellating geometry, and basketry/weaving structures. The tools and techniques I use are simple: a sharp knife, a ruler, and a pan of hot sand to scorch a dark gradient onto tiny pieces of veneer. By slicing, burning, and reassembling I’m able to process wood from a material that is fundamentally comforting (or at least benign) into one that is jarring, anxious, even noxious to behold.
I’m seeking a final state in which the original quality of the wood has been changed, but
not obliterated, and in which the grain, texture, and reflectivity of the wood continue to
imbue the surface with subtlety and depth. Much of this work also seeks to preserve and
utilize the thinness of veneer. Rather than using veneer to apply a superficial decorative
surface to a solid mass, I tried creating objects that are actually nothing but surface.
The way that I engaged with my work during the eight weeks of residency was unexpected. I had planned to execute a single project of significant scale or complexity. But the ongoing stimulus of visits to museums, collections and artists’ studios, interactions with fellow residents, and generally frenetic pace of a hot summer in Center City sent me into a maelstrom of fragmented attention and churning interests that lent itself to the making of quick studies, flitting from one project to another, and exploring themes of disorder and unraveling.