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David Alban
Artist Statement

My recent work has centered on teeth, and mandibles coming from some industrial strength dental work I endure. Teeth are very prominent in all of the animal kingdom. They function as tools and weapons. Much attention is paid to them visually. Our culture assigns an utmost importance to their image. Likewise, the mandible is very prominent. It is the first bone to develop in utero. I want to them to be large enough to remove you from the experience in front of the mirror we all have of picking, brushing, and flossing. When fabricating I am reminded of the studies I have done in the anatomy lab and the discovery an archeologist must feel in the field.

I choose clay as a material and process because of the massive physicality it affords me. I am able to quickly work through a series of ideas to finish much faster, and more affordably then using cast metal. Currently I am working on some bronze fabrications using some heavy plate where the plate is bent, and formed into mandible forms which are welded to plate fabricated bases. The resistance of the metal is quite striking compared to the malleability of clay. I find that aluminum is a kind of middle ground between clay, bronze, and steel. By using some heat I am able to move the metal around in a condition that is very akin to soft clay, yet it yields with a much different set of resistances. I do not see a hierarchy of materials in my investigations.

My drawings are stand-alone pieces, and working plans, if you will. I use a smooth plate paper, drawing with soft graphite, conte, erasures, and Ebony brand pencils. I do a lot of erasing, searching for the form, really carving into the surface of the paper for the contours. I find myself drawing more and more. Forms will emerge and inform passages I want to explore in metal or clay. The investigations are moving into landscape like forms that have grown out of a macro-focus on teeth from a Dentist’s view. These came out of self-portraits, using a plaster bitewing my Dentist cast of my own mouth. I see them moving out onto the floor, off the wall, onto mill table.

Artist Statement