My work for the past few years has at times been figurative in content, or perhaps I should say, in preoccupation. By this, I don’t mean that the forms of the finished pieces closely resemble exterior forms of the human body (although sometimes, surprisingly, this has been the case) but rather that my concerns at the time of form-making have focused themselves on the condition and status of the human individual.

Humans have always fashioned extensions to themselves in order to interface with the world as they perceive it or want it to be. My work is simply an attempt to actualize some of these desires and attitudes as I see them. The same might be said of many artists.

Part of this approach is also decidedly auto centric. I have been increasingly preoccupied with my inner workings – mental and physical. I have always felt a strong familial propriety towards my work; perhaps these pieces are progeny, born at least somewhat in my own image.

My compositional format for many years had been a kind of biological symmetry. I found that I could control the relationship of viewer to work in a way that I could not in an asymmetrical situation. Within such a format, small changes became strong visual and emotional tensions. This approach was so ingrained that now, when I am breaking the symmetry, it feels like a truly audacious thing to do. The inherent centering of a symmetrical composition is no longer available to me; now, I find that I must rely on the strength of the image to do the same job of engaging the viewer.

I am drawn to using materials with tactile qualities that exhibit their own history. Building them into a sculpture allows them, phoenix-like, to rise again and add another chapter to their existence.

After having said so much about my intervention in making these works, I should also note that, when a piece is going really well in the studio, there is a definite moment when it begins to assert its own personality. At that time, I have less and less to do with its finalization. It is a presence, and on its own, with its own needs and dictates – and it is at that moment that I know why I continue to work away at this ridiculous pantheistic pursuit.

Keith Long
NYC, March 2006