Intuitive Wood

Allan Hirsh

February 24 - March 17, 2007

Intuitive Wood

For Allan Hirsh, the process begins with a wide search for found objects, discarded pieces of wood or used interesting pieces of hardware. Yard sales, flea markets and cluttered antique stores are investigated with a particular eye. The patina, shape, rarity and perceived elegance of an object are all taken into account. The joy of the hunt and the excitement in the find becomes part of the ongoing historical narrative of each piece. Each artifact will rest for a while in a cluttered, but organized workshop until its new calling becomes apparent.

A central idea will generate a process of assembly in which objects are added or taken away with the goal of intuitively improving what the eye sees. The placement of an artifact will highlight its new significance. The rusty patina of a discarded Victorian hinge has a new presence when placed on a highly waxed old piece of oak. A ceramic toilet flusher somehow seems more elegant attached to wood then it did on its original toilet. What is it about antiques and collectables that excite so many people? What draws us to our past? Is it the workmanship of a time gone by or is it traces of our lost childhood?

A lever from an old meat grinder takes centre stage as it turns with a satisfying resistance. An old electrical switch clicks on command and we feel as if something has been accomplished. The illusion of control fills us with a subtle joy as we manipulate switches and levers and dials that seem to do something but, in fact, only alter our inner state.

As a psychotherapist, Allan helps his clients discover themselves through a process of emotional archeology. Old patterns are unearthed and seen in a new light. As a presenter and cartoonist, Allan uses humour and insight to shift perceptions into a calmer and more playful vein. As a sculptor, he helps us see the artifacts and discarded pieces of wood that he accumulates with a different eye.

There is something calming and playful about the work that becomes apparent over time. The work reflects the joy that the artist feels in all aspects of the work.

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