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John Christensen

Austin, TX

"I design and make objects and spaces in public, private, theatrical and commercial arenas. For over 20 years, I have successfully met thematic and practical challenges presented by clients and collaborators. I bring to these tasks experience with a broad range of materials and processes, and I seek design solutions that are poetic, integrative and surprising.

Before 1990, I developed a body of site-sensitive work in rural landscapes of New York, Georgia and Texas. Since 1990, I have focused that sensibility on projects for the theatre and the public place. I have created, in collaborations with choreographers, interactive props and theatrical environments for 22 productions presented in the Americas, Europe and Asia. I have designed and built commercial spaces and furniture. I worked with others in the development of iconic elements, structures and infrastructure for a municipal park. I have completed large-scale public and private commissions in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Albuquerque, Miami, Tucson and Fort Worth.

Interest in natural science, metaphysics, literature and history, informs my artistic practice. For many years I adapted natural forms – investing them with breath and physical centers – endeavoring to move an audience through direct somatic appeal. For the last several years, I have more often made three-dimensional drawings that map a vision of - or journey through - a metaphysical universe. My intent is disruptive and optimistic – that we may effectively re-imagine personal ambitions and communal goals.

I source material for my sculptures from the natural world. Sculptures at an airport abstract wind-blown seeds. A pavilion for a municipal park merges with the surrounding tree canopy. An Albuquerque installation recalls the theatre of clouds and landforms of the four-corners region. A wall relief refers to wave-interference patterns and Polynesian navigation methods. A sculpture at a psychiatric hospital uses a wormhole as a metaphor for transformation. In recent sculptures and reliefs I have arranged motifs to evoke organic systems - branching rhizomes, biotic colonies, neural networks, wave interference patterns, polymers - clustered works with perceptual associations that make poetic connections between phenomena in disparate fields."
Wescover creator since 2017

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