Making art wasn’t the only creative outlet for Penland based sculptor Dustin Farnsworth growing up. His high school drama program helped instill in him an affinity for the theatrical: his sculptures feature mixed media figures and life sized heads adorned with headdresses that resemble theaters and architectural spaces. Also the son of a carpenter, his father, who built marionettes and a medical illustrator, his mother, it would seem that his work is the perfect combination of his upbringing.
“I was thinking about the theaters as kind of the mental spaces for the characters that are in them,” says the artist. Using materials like basswood, poplar, rope, steel, veneer, plywood, resin, and various polychrome, he builds intricate and expressive structures that are like a window into his figures’ head space. He describes them as “emotionally charged rabbit holes to fall into and explore.” Other works feature structures like a highway bridge, or a rickety catwalk on top of broken posts, based on his observations of the deterioration of industry.
“My work is informed by the anthropological study of the architecture of industries; energy, agriculture, automotive, and manufacturing,” he says. “Acting as author and architect, I endeavor to uncover and expose the culture, societal, and familial weight inherited by the coming generations.”