Morgan Herrin: Otzi and Other Stories

The evidence of my labor gives value to the material, which is otherwise cheap and disposable. Recycled, construction-grade lumber reflects our society’s preference for cheap, fast, and impermanent. My sculptures are hand-carved, a process that takes hundreds of work-hours and utilizes hand tools that have been almost completely phased out by modern machines. These two aspects combine to create a dialogue about time and the contrast between the past and the present.

I immerse myself in the subject matter of my work. Often, several very different forms combine to create one physical object. My process is ultimately a result of the combination of my fascination with figurative sculpture of the past and obsessive research into a subject. I reference the passage of time and its effect on art in terms of both physical change and change in viewer perception.

In my most recent work titled ‘Otzi’, my subject is the 5,300 mummified remains of a man found frozen in the Otztal Alps in the 1990s. Rendering the form of the mummy in wood and intensely researching the subject became a way to connect personally with the life and death of this man. He was frozen in an unusual pose which was, when oriented upright, almost a dancing gesture and reminiscent of a crucifixion.