Walter McConnell, Itinerant Edens: Perpetual Spring, 2004. Moist clay in plastic enclosures, plywood, polystyrene, light. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.
A series of male figures derived from familial models are central to Walter McConnell’s installation Of Fable and Facsimile. Rendered in moist, unfired clay and sealed in terrarium-like plastic enclosures, McConnell’s earthen bodies appear fragile, apparitional — sustained momentarily in their fictional landscapes — positing impermanence as the inevitable condition of natural systems.
The figures in the installations are digitally scanned and prototyped from live models including the artist, his 83-year old father, and his nephew, representing three generations of male family members. A full body scanner housed in the School of Human Ecology at Cornell University, produces the files; prototyped models are CNC milled or 3D printed, plaster molds are made. The figures appearing in the installation are terracotta clays, cast and pulled from these molds.
Walter McConnell is best known for his moist clay installations housed in plastic enclosures that address the relationship between nature and culture. His work has been widely exhibited internationally and in venues across the U.S. including The Denver Art Museum, MassMoca, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.