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Machinist Sculptor-Chris Bathgate

2015.11.20

As a sculptor, self-taught machinist, and CNC machine builder, the tools of my craft have become the conceptual foundation for my visual ideas.

My sculpture works are not conceived in a top-down fashion. Instead, I begin each work with only a loose concept or visual goal, and then allow elements of my craft, as well as the technical constraints of my process and equipment to guide the work to its final form. This “logistics first” approach allows the fabrication process to have a major influence on my creative output, rather than being a means to an end.

I often play on industrial design motifs and experiment with ideas around our relationship to engineered objects. The internal logic of each sculpture suggests intentional design, which in turn implies utility; however, the work is static and ambiguous. As an art object, it refuses to fully transform the medium, making each sculpture feel like an irresolvable paradox, full of implied yet undefined purpose.

Machine work is a discipline that requires constant innovation to realize one’s creative goals. It is this innovation that fuels future creative insights. For me, it has become a self-sustaining exploration of a craft that, given its ubiquity in modern life, is enormously underrepresented as an art form.