He teaches digital media at Los Angeles Harbor College, but that doesn’t deter sculptor Joshua Abarbanel from appreciating a strong tie to nature. His incredible wood sculptures are a reflection of his dual interests in technology and the natural world. Using mix of digital, mechanical tools and handiwork, he first designs his dynamic pieces on the computer, then crafts them by hand in way that feels organic. Recent works combine influences from Romantic landscape, environmental art, and wabi-sabi.
“I’ve been transfixed with the idea of trying to see the unseen,” he says, likening the balance of nature to poetry. Almost like the gears of a clock, the stained and unstained wood pieces are fitted together, sometimes with concrete and other materials, forming arrangements resembling biological growths, coral reefs or delicate, microscopic fractals. His compositions act as metaphors for relationships between people, individuals and communities, and humankind and the planet.
“As an artist, I explore forms and patterns, especially the colors, shapes, and compositions found in biological, botanical, and geological structures. I am interested in the relationship between the individual elements of structures and the larger forms of which they are a part,” he says. “In many ways we all have one story we continually tell and mine is the relationship of the things that are almost unseeable and the interconnection of all life forms.”