Will Clift: Forms in Balance

For the last fifteen years, I’ve explored gesture in sculpture through the interaction of form and balance. This interaction has become my medium, as much as any physical material.

My sculptures consist of intersecting parts that stand or suspend together in equilibrium. No part is extraneous, and the delicacy of this balance reveals the fine line between weight and weightlessness, motion and stillness. I’m trying to capture the moment between breathing in and breathing out, between being grounded and taking flight – the pure potential of movement that has not quite commenced. We as humans intuitively understand balance through our own bodies, ever since we learned to stand, to walk, to dance.

I begin each sculpture with a form or a movement that I notice, in an instant, in the world around me. This moment of recognition is the most essential part of my process; it relies on intuition, when emotion and intellect are in balance. It’s never been something that I can push myself to find, but once it’s there, I very quickly have a sense of how it could translate into a physical structure with its own point of equilibrium. Then begins a long series of iterations on paper. As I work, that original form or movement often becomes obscured, with just the experience it gave me remaining. At no point are numerical calculations necessary — when the drawing looks right to me, I know that the finished sculpture will balance on its own.

In each of my works, I hope that the balance between movement and stillness evokes both a sense of harmony, and of playfulness and wonder.