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John F. Mahoney is a sculptor from Pawcatuck, Connecticut, where the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed empties into Little Narragansett Bay, an extremely productive habitat for birds and sea life of all kinds. This visually stunning estuary is surrounded by the Rhode Island coastline, Block Island, Fisher’s Island and Long Island, NY, and the upper coastline of CT. John has worked and boated in this region for numerous years. He has taught groups of children, in a professional granted-funded educational program, about this remarkable bioregion, and the ways people have interacted with it over time, and best use practices to preserve the area for future generations. These details are important to point out as I begin to discuss John’s work as they inform so much of what he does.
John works on small and large scale metalworks projects. He owns and operates Native Images, an independent custom metalworks design studio, specializing in creating artworks that bring mythology - his use of petroglyphs and local culture - to family residences, galleries, both private and public outdoor gardens and parks, and corporate settings. Working with individual clients, architects, non-profit organizations, town, state, and federal agencies, and corporations, Native Images creates custom installations on any scale. From wallhangings, furniture, large residential design projects, outdoor garden sculpture, large-scale public works, and site-specific complex corporate work involving architectural design teams, Native Images has enhanced our sense of place from Maine to New York.
In his work, John seeks to add the grace and organic flow of the natural world into every piece he creates, large or small. John has said “woven into and throughout most designs are the dream-like funnel of human forms I embrace in my studies of petroglyphs from around the world. These free-form images are morphed with the sea life and shorebirds I celebrate each day.” His end goal is always the subtle looking transformation of sheets of steel into something participatory between viewer and creator, between art and nature.*
John’s art does not try to contradict or dominate the environment, but blend into and enhance the viewers’ experience of our collective esoteric and exoteric understanding of place in all its experiential, psychological, and spiritual dynamics, whatever they may be for the viewer themselves.
What is most astonishing about the work coming out of John’s Native Images studio is how any piece of his work transforms the environment immediately. John is able to turn steel into a fluid and integrated part of everything he is involved in.
-- Tariq Zayid.
* A process which is not subtle at all, but a hard, time-consuming, intensive process of drawing, planning, cutting, welding, pounding, grinding, and finishing the almost alchemical process of a sheet of steel into a personal work of art.
Native Images desires an art that mingles
the outside with the inside
allowing a current
of nature and myth and culture
to pass through our everyday lives
transforming pieces of steel
as a seed regenerates
into a flower
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