I design and fabricate site-specific sculpture and lighting for private and public clients. My inspiration comes from my wonder of the natural world, its physical beauty and the forces driving it. I distill and abstract organic forms bringing them to life through kinetic motion, the glow of light and color, or implied motion and grace of the sculpture’s gentle curving forms. The large scale of my recent Flowerworks and fish sculptures shrink the human scale asking us to consider our significance and role in the natural world.
I recently completed two Public Art commissions for the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo’s Forensic Institute of Psychiatry (opening 2009). The client’s enthusiasm for the facility’s mission and the potential healing qualities of art in this setting were extremely motivating. The resulting sculptures are “Birds” and “Flowerworks I and II”. “Birds” is an entry sculpture composed of abstract birds soaring over a dark oxidized base. The birds spiral upward, raising ones gaze and hopes from the dark shadows below. “Flowerworks I” and “Flowerworks II” are two courtyard compositions representing the merging of the fascinating beauty of the Allium flower with the exciting burst of fireworks. The flower sparks animate in the breeze, inspiring joy, wonder and delight in the viewer.
I approach my projects by carefully balancing the goals of the client with the possibilities and limitations of the site while considering the intended audience. I design and fabricate my own sculpture, allowing me to continually push and challenge my metalworking skills while having total control over the quality of the finished piece. In the process, I often discover opportunities for improvements and refinements, which can result in a better, finished product.
David Tonnesen joined Fine Art America on March 18th, 2010.