While we might not look back at pennies when they accidentally fall out of our pockets, Robert Wechsler invites his viewers to see them in a new light in his geometric coin sculptures. Using a die cutter for his larger pieces and a jeweler’s handsaw for his smaller ones, he transforms spare change into multifaceted constructions that he meticulously puts together by hand. Cutting notches in each coin, he attaches them to build up complex patterns. Wechsler has a natural eye for geometry and creates the shapes without a preplanned model. His work is highly detailed oriented, and he has been known to take apart sculptures when a single coin is found facing the wrong way. The resulting forms resemble molecular structures or perhaps geological formations. They re-contextualize the coins entirely.
“These penny sculptures, both The Mendicant and The Caryatid and even the other smaller works, are meant to call attention to the beauty and splendor of otherwise overlooked items of our every day life,” said Wechsler in an email to Hi-Fructose. “Pennies are seen as useless money and they are considered a nuisance by many people. I look at a penny and see a beautiful sculptural token full of meaning and information about our society, and our history. People think of pennies as identical coins but I see tremendous variety of texture and color as each coin has lived and aged differently.”