Three Works

Art / Sawyer Rose

:: from Seeds of the Monoliths ::


From the artist

:: Account ::

Both sculp­tur­al and painter­ly, the forms in the Seeds of the Mono­liths series are clad in lay­ers of sil­ver sol­der and cop­per, as if their del­i­cate botan­i­cal bod­ies are grow­ing the armor they need to flour­ish in the envi­ron­ment humans are leav­ing for them. Using the tex­ture of the met­al as my pri­ma­ry mark-mak­ing medi­um, the liq­ue­fied sil­ver morphs into bark, or feath­ers, or scales. There is elo­quence and beau­ty in the act of self-protection.

The sur­faces of my sol­dered met­al spheres draw inspi­ra­tion from unex­pect­ed­ly diverse sources—typically a mash-up of Cal­i­for­nia flo­ra and Medieval weaponry—though I’ve also tapped into the organ­ic pat­terns of coral, fun­gus, and lava flows for fresh ideas.

In a recent depar­ture, I based the pat­tern­ing of the Dis­sent piece on the jabot (or, col­lar) that Jus­tice Ruth Bad­er Gins­burg wears when she announces a dis­sent­ing opin­ion on a Supreme Court case. Metaphor­i­cal­ly, the Jus­tice wears this jew­eled armor when defend­ing her views in an increas­ing­ly hos­tile polit­i­cal environment.

When build­ing these pieces, I begin by cov­er­ing the fiber­glass sculp­ture arma­ture with cop­per foil. Next, I lay down the first lay­er of tex­ture in sil­ver solder—like paint­ing with molten met­al. I add dimen­sion to the work by plac­ing beads of sol­der to cre­ate depth and con­trast. The pieces are cov­ered with a rich black pati­na and bur­nished with steel wool to bring out shin­ing high­lights on the raised peaks, while leav­ing dark in the valleys.


Sawyer Rose is a sculp­ture, instal­la­tion, and social prac­tice artist. Through­out her career, Rose has used her art­work to shine a spot­light on con­tem­po­rary social and eco­log­i­cal issues. Her met­al­work sculp­tures explore the ways liv­ing things adapt to chang­ing envi­ron­ments and The Car­ry­ing Stones Project address­es issues around women’s work inequity. Her work has been exhib­it­ed wide­ly across the U.S.

Rose has been a res­i­dent artist at MASS MoCA, Fort Mason Cen­ter for Arts & Cul­ture in San Fran­cis­co, Ver­mont Stu­dio Cen­ter, Rag­dale Foun­da­tion, and The Tyrone Guthrie Cen­tre in Ireland.

She has been award­ed mer­it grants from The Cre­ative Capac­i­ty Fund, The Awe­some Foun­da­tion, and Ver­mont Stu­dio Center.

Rose is the Pres­i­dent of the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Women’s Cau­cus for Art.