At the core, Haley Woodward’s work is rooted in a fascination with the dynamic qualities of heated steel. As steel consumes heat, it becomes alive. The steel increasingly becomes incandescent and elastic until the moment when solid steel becomes liquid. The ability to control this transformation is a constant source of fascination for Woodward. Simultaneously, when the steel is active, it becomes more and more unapproachable. The extreme temperatures force one to manipulate steel with harder metal extensions. Although the material is heated, it requires great force to move metal. However, the force applied needs to be precise and controlled. Because the material will only stay active for a limited time without reheating, everything needs to happen with deft precision.
Woodward’s work is generated by an exploration of working properties of metal, specifically iron, steel and brass. He applies traditional and modern techniques to these materials, to create sculptural forms. At the same time, Woodward makes sculptural forms as a means to work with and better understand metal. Iron, steel, and brass give a pallet of colors, textures, and physical properties that allow a variety of options when making work. These materials come with their own histories within the context of the human experience. Starting as technical challenges and investigations into the process of blacksmithing, new forms and process become illuminated, and new sculptural ideas tend to follow. More often then not, this leads to more technical challenges and the drama continues. Technique inspired by the work, and work inspired by technique.
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