Sculptural art created from auto parts by Jeff Mann
Maine sculptor, Jeff Mann has been dedicated to environmental concerns for as long as he can remember and for the past eight years, has been creating art that speaks to those issues. During a residency at Southern Maine Community College in 2004, Mann spearheaded the initiation of art into the curriculum of what had been a primarily technical college. Through projects with students, a public art project, and outreach to the community, he continued to refine his style while challenging the status quo. His Carchitecture class, a blend of art and sociology, offered yet another vehicle for Mann to engage students in the work of his residency and global concerns.
Currently engaged in a process he refers to as “reconstructing the car”, Mann disassembles cars and reassembles their components into sculptural art. Through this process, benign works are created from material that Mann generally regards as malignant. Says Mann:
Mostly this manifests itself in the materials I use, car parts, and in the curatorial work I am engaging in to promote art that expresses concerns with our transportation choices and the effect these choices have on our society, our bodies and our planet. However, my approach is not negative; I don’t make ugly pieces to reflect the evils of the car, but rather celebrate the incredible beauty of car parts and their complexity. My work is more of heart than mind, more dance than dirge. Car parts have an intrinsic dance to me that I want to respond to without intellectual or narrative limitations.
Car Repair celebrates the beauty and complexity of automobile parts and prompts challenging discussion. As Mann explains, “I am not simply using any found objects; I use car parts because I believe the car is the largely invisible shaper of our world, the subliminal cultural informer and the frankensteinian monster that may eventually cause our destruction.” These multi-layered quilts and landscapes, while aesthetically pleasing in themselves, are also vehicles to explore our relationship with the car and our roles in a global environment.
See more of Jeff Mann’s work at the New England Sculptors Association.