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Tom Gormally Artist Statement


Sculpture, Drawings, and Prints by Tom Gormally

I found myself in the position to be able to focus on my art practice full-time as the 2016 election cycle ramped up. Observing how this new era of politics exposed the divisiveness and vitriol in American society, I wanted to create a body of work that would inspire dialogue and help bridge the widening gap not only in our culture but also within my own family. In these bodies of work, I combine the shamanistic aspect of effigy representation with folk-like carvings, fabrications, and inviting light elements to create more widely accessible pieces representing what I consider apt idioms for the current moment.

Wordplay and metaphor are central to the construction of my sculptures, which are often humorous. Humor is a fundamental part of my personality and a key link to my Irish heritage. Irish culture and stories passed on to me all shared a balance between solemn storytelling and wise-cracking to take the edge off. I use humor as a way of processing, healing, and reorienting myself and others around me.

The element of craft has been an important part of my artistic process. In sculptures that reference the working class and the creation of objects by hand, I focus attention to detail in recreating, in wood, common tools such as the ax, vice, turnbuckles, socket wrench, screws, nuts, bolts, and washers.

Some of my sculptures incorporate a fox motif, which can be viewed from two perspectives: a homage to Native American stories of the wily trickster and to a vaudevillian villain whose hijinks are at once horrifying and mesmerizing. Other work incorporates an owl motif, referencing my concern about the potential loss of spotted-owl habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Yet other works take a playful yet mournful look at the aging process.



Brought to you by - The Honeywell Charitable Fund, Town of Friday Harbor, Orcas Island Community Foundation, Browne’s Home Center, Anonymous, Printonyx and Harbor Rentals.

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