Richard Hager

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Artist Statement

I commence with large white rectilinear blocks of polystyrene foam and a sense of antagonism towards the minimalism they embody. With axes and power-saws I affect my antipathy with what might be sculpting’s equivalence of a heated, audible soliloquy heard beneath an L.A. overpass.

The foam monoliths, once objects within my studio, have been exploded to become the studio’s condition. The setting is chaos, but even while still laboring to demolish the rectangles, my actions tangentially begin to affect order upon the mess. Cut parts are sorted unconsciously, geologically, as I move through them. Eventually a kind of order emerges (or is entirely imagined). I begin discovering relationships between parts, which I use to compose assemblies that speak to a primordial place in me. I am discovering archetypal forms.

I consider sculpture a highly effective compressor and conveyer of information that is accessible to those with the proper literacy. It’s in this sense that, despite the levity, even whimsey of the final forms my sculptures take, I believe the brutality encoded within their creation remains available, if subconsciously, to the literate viewer and that this confounding of tones generates tension. I chose styrofoam for its mutability, un-preciousness, its ubiquity. But mostly for its readiness at registering actions taken upon it. Casting the objects acts as a “stop-bath” that terminates the registry and presents the sculpture as a snapshot, a summation of the process.