"I want to bring forsaken ruins to life. I build colossal wooden machines that seem to have existed and functioned at one time. As I begin to build these machines, I start with the problem of what this particular machine is trying to produce. As I build the wheels, gears, and grinders to explore or fix this problem, more questions are laid out - questions that are suspended between the past and the future, creating a slippage in time. I want the viewer to ask certain questions of the sculpture: What is or what was it? What does or did it do? Why was it put here? The viewer may attempt, through intuition or logic, to answer these questions, but they are only left with degrees of speculation. The meaning is not derived from the answers to these questions - meaning is derived from asking these questions."

Chris Larson (born 1966, Minnesota) explores a purely sculptural moment and the suggestion of movement in static form. Using rough-hewn timbers to produce monumental sculptures, he works alone - no small feat since his works are often massive - and uses no preliminary drawings. Larson's sculptures directly confront the medium. Working quickly and intuitively, he produces "machines" that seem to be echoes from the Middle Ages, when alchemists attempted inventions that would transform one material into another. Larson's machines - with unclear functions and nonfunctional parts - will never be operational. Despite the formalism present in his work, there exists an ambiguity of narrative, an absurdity resulting from myriad unanswered questions.

Larson received an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art in 1992. He has often shown locally, most recently at Macalester College in St. Paul. He is the recipient of many awards, including a Jerome Foundation Fellowship in 1993, and a Bush Artist Fellowship in 1998.


Dorit Cypis Robert Fischer