John Bisbee, who welds and manipulates 12-inch spikes, has always operated under one mantra: “Only nails, always different.” In recent pieces, his diverse output bends the nails into an enormous snake, a tree, and more abstract forms. Not only are the subjects depicted varying wildly, but the style in which the nails comprise them: sometimes rigid and geometric, elsewhere chaotic.
John Bisbee envisions his sculptures as drawings in which the 12-inch nails he hammers and welds act like lines in three dimensions. Since his serendipitous discovery of nails’ sculptural potential 30 years ago, Bisbee has been working with the unusual industrial material. His body of work includes organic shapes and architectural constructions alike. The nails act as uniform building blocks that allow him to create rhythmic patterns that echo through much of his work, whether it’s a snake-like floor sculpture, a bird’s nest of bent nails, or a precariously high pyramid.