I sculpt in clay, bronze and stone whichever is best to express the idea of the work. I have strong connections, a love for, and a group of friends in both Italy and Japan. From these experiences, I have developed a style that I describe as “Figurative Haiku”. The figurative comes from the Italian sculptures and the Haiku from a form of Japanese poetry I love. For the most part, my pieces are figurative and show hands, faces, people or objects. However, as I conceptualize each piece and the meaning I want it to convey, I exhaustively try to eliminate unnecessary details. For example, as I initially planned “In the breaking of the bread: The emergence of cognition” I had a person sitting at a table breaking the bread. As I developed this concept, I felt the person’s legs were not necessary, next I eliminated the actual person (except for the hands), then I entirely eliminated the table. Finally, I left some raw stone at the base even with some of the fingers buried within it.
Since my work comes from my brain, heart, and soul, it often reflects my background as the son of a Pennsylvania coal miner raised as a Christian worshiping in the Roman Catholic tradition who then became a neurosurgeon-scientist. I spent many days in the coal fields searching for fossils and other interesting stones and had a great rock collection as a kid. Thus, I am not a straight-up white marble sculptor. I love various types of stone, their different colors and textures. I especially love the stone in its raw form and thus always like to show the stone itself in most or all of my pieces. Stone also allows me to show the process of “emergence”. This probably is best seen in “Comforter” where the raw stone is seen on top. On the left side is the diamond band saw cut by the quarry shop. At the top front are seen some diamond saw marks and point chisel marks and I even included a round diamond saw mark on the left side. Elsewhere are various type of chisel marks (point, claw, rondelle, etc. ) finally resulting in the highly polished areas of the arms, hand and quilt.
Being a surgeon, I am very interested in hands and try to incorporate them into most sculptures if possible. Hands are a lot more action-oriented than faces. Hands gesture, point, cut, shake, sooth, hold, comfort, throw, etc. Additionally, faces (and in particular areas around the nose, cheekbones, and eyes) immediately identify someone as being of Caucasian, African, Asian, or other descent and often as male vs. female. In contrast, hands are figurative and can be very emotionally expressive and yet somewhat abstract and more general than faces in that they can be anyone’s hands.
I also like to bring into a piece a synthesis of two or more ideas: 1, for example, in the “Comforter”: the black women of Gee’s Bend Quilters and the mostly white women of the MGH Comforters (arms vs. shirt; black squares vs. stippled squares); 2, in “Noble Rose Beautiful Forever”: the concept of beauty within the process of aging and death; and 3, “In the Breaking of the Bread: The emergence of cognition”: the bread, the cross, the emergence of a new way of looking at our world, and the brain itself with its two hemispheres as the source of all cognition.
Finally, I do sign each piece, or I should say I label it with my initial “M” but the letter is made to blend into the work in a way so as not to harm to overall design. (Thank you Lucia and Warren.) So if you are really into such things, it may take a bit of Martin Handford’s “Where’s Waldo” or Father Guido Sarducci’s “Finda-the-Pope-in-the-Pizza” type of detective work to locate my initial. The sculptures are not dated as I prefer to think of them as timeless.