Menu
The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tom Haney’s Whimsical Sculptures Find the Magic in Movement

It's magical ability to capture our imagination is as miraculous as the device itself. Elaborate wind-up machines called automata, or automatons, are mechanical marvels dating from a time as early as the 13th century. Tom Haney, the artist of these automata, has always been fascinated by mechanical movement. "The work I create today is a modern offshoot of the time-honored Old World tradition of automata," he says. Using carved wood and old objects as his main materials, his art brings new life into obsolete artifacts, literally.

It’s magical ability to capture our imagination is as miraculous as the device itself. Elaborate wind-up machines called automata, or automatons, are mechanical marvels dating from a time as early as the 13th century. Tom Haney, the artist of these automata, has always been fascinated by mechanical movement. “The work I create today is a modern offshoot of the time-honored Old World tradition of automata,” he says. Using carved wood and old objects as his main materials, his art brings new life into obsolete artifacts, literally.

Inspired by earlier innovators like Edison, Bell and the Wright Brothers, to the more contemporary work of Calder, Haney incorporates multi-dimensional movement that extends the viewer’s perspective of the piece as more than its material. It’s a process that he describes as “clockwork”, where the actual “work” is hidden inside his whimsical, puppet-like figures; blacksmiths hammering away in their workshop, kids playing on a seesaw, or a girl swimming in the deep blue sea.

“I love the old ways of doing things, old tools and traditional techniques. Working with one’s hands still has value. I believe there is a magical transformation that happens when mechanical movement is added to a static figure. This movement captures a viewer’s attention and holds it to the point where they are drawn into interpreting the stories the piece conveys.”

Meta
Share
Facebook
Reddit
Pinterest
Email
Related Articles
Looking like they crawled out of a strange artillery, Pierre Matter's sculptures are a science fiction-infused blend of human, animal and machine. Matter's work is hybridized in technique as much as it is in subject matter: the artist fuses found objects and scrap metals, employing a variety of tools to weld and sculpt them into new forms. Weighty and large-scale (many of the works are several feet taller than average human height), his sculptures of animals are filled with intricate, mechanical details. These cyborgs can't help but remind us of contemporary discourse about the ever-presence of technology in our day-to-day lives. For his current show at AFA NYC, "Hybrid," which opened on May 17, Matter says that he took inspiration from the ways nature has influenced science. The result is a thought-provoking glimpse at where technology has been and where it's headed.
In the imagination of 1986, Frankenstein creatures made of sheeps' skulls, spoons and scrap metal inhabit a world populated by steel flowers and paper birds. Georgie Seccull (aka 1986) is the Melbourne-based artist behind the fantastic installations, whose gigantic scale and raw aesthetic are reminiscent of prehistoric times. Using a combination of salvaged and recycled materials, 1986 builds installations with eccentric materials like computer parts and utensils for the wings of beetles. By merging organic matter like bamboo leaves, acorns and kumquats with modern instruments used in technology and mechanics, 1986 hurls forces of the past and future together to create otherworldly beings in the present.
Costa Magarakis, a Tel Aviv-based artist who specializes in sculpture and also goes by the name “Duck Pirate,” uses the structure of shoes as the base objects for several of his work. At the hands of the artist, simulated footwear becomes the body of an animal, a maritime vessel, or new type of creature altogether. His work is described as existing within a "gothic wonderland illuminating the gray area between truth and lies."
First featured in HF Vol 34, artist Click Mort takes vintage ceramic figurines and "recapitates" them into whimsical characters spawned from his imagination. In his latest series on view at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, the artist takes influences from his own dreams and nightmares. His exhibition "Delirium Tremens" is named after a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, which often involves hallucinations. Considering this, while his works are infused with nostalgia and humor, one cannot ignore a certain melancholy in them.

Subscribe to the Hi-Fructose Mailing List