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 RUSSELL WHITING

Breaux Bridge, LA

As an artist I want to make sculpture that exhibits the skills and techniques that I have developed as a metal worker over the last 30 years. My method of working steel is uniquely a product of my involvement and experience’s in the oil and ship building industry of La. 

I have developed a technique of carving steel with the oxy-acetylene torch that produces complex surfaces that are fascinating and heavily textured. The subject matter often become secondary to the well informed viewer. Also my work exhibits the strength of steel as a sculptural medium. By carving the steel I am free from the found object or mill shaped objects that are so often found in contemporary steel sculpture. Traditionally steel sculpture has been additive; poured, forged or fabricated. Carving steel is subtractive. The carving flame translates directly into the steel leaving very distinctive brush mark. The torch creates a molten stream that instantly liquefies the metal on contact. Torch carving is like blowing into a bowl of water, too hard and it’s all over you, too little produces nothing, but the prefect pressure stream and you can make a controlled effect. Once the steel has been liquefied, it instantly cools, transforming the waste into slag and leaving the base metal with the negative shape of the molten steam. 

I build the individual figures by layering silhouettes of "cut out" 3 inch plate steel, which is welded into a single carving block. I then melt the figure from the block using the oxy-acetylene torch. I have been developing this technique for 25 years and have mastered the technique, becoming very sensitive to the effect that heat/oxygen and gravity has on steel. 

I have numerous works in private and public collection. I have complete numerous life size and monumental size sculptures. My early background in welding and metal works has gifted me with incredible experiences working on massive industrial projects that have help me develop the skills used to realize this technique.