Semi-detached Series
Painted and stained wood reliefs, 2002-2006
View the series

Detail Semi-detached

The beginning process of making my wood sculptures and reliefs involves cutting an enormous amount of wood into many random, instinctively decided upon and arrived at lengths. Besides purchasing lumber, I often use wood that has been exposed to extreme weather conditions, discarded and damaged wood, wood recycled from reconsidered works, and occasionally pieces that have been given to me or found. Rough irregular edges and split areas are cut away, along with areas containing nails, staples, hammer hits, and other aspects of the wood's “history”. These initially rejected pieces are not discarded, but saved in a large outdoor container exposed to the elements.

This process of accumulating these cut away fragments is an ongoing activity. In 2002, I decided to investigate these saved pieces to see if there was yet another visual avenue to explore with them.

These cracked, fragmented, rough and irregular pieces were first washed and, where I felt appropriate, sanded. This initial treatment is an important step for me in conceiving new work. By handling and preparing the pieces, a kind of “bonding” takes place. The pieces begin to be understood and their innate character emerges and clarifies. Relationships between them begin to be established, even as they are being cleaned, refined and sorted.
Semi-detached Detail

I arranged these prepared pieces into twelve configurations, which initially appeared to be separate individual reliefs. However, as I began the doweling and gluing assembly process, some of them merged together. Gradually, the new configurations began functioning in pairs, the spaces between them becoming as important as the shapes themselves. These structures were then repeatedly stained and washed with color, some of them as many as twenty times. This gave a unity to their irregular and eccentric shapes, allowing the paired units to play off one another. The end result was four sets of paired reliefs and a single piece with attenuated extensions, only tangentially attached to the central three shapes (#5).

The pairing of these assembled initial five reliefs triggered other ideas for paired forms. The Semi-detached Series finally comprised seventeen reliefs and sculptures, all completed between 2002 - 2006. I've also included with this series, two untitled sculptures that, although only single forms, relate to the series in feeling and by date.

While doing this series, I discovered their title in a biography I was reading which made reference to semi-detached villas. The word struck a chord with me. It seemed to perfectly describe these paired forms, which do not touch but are dependent and rely on one another, neither complete without its partner.

James Zver

Los Angeles , April 2007
Cumberland     Near Sunset    Closer & Closer Apart / Insignia    Nova Via    Semi-Detached    Chamber