Stuart Tessler is a sculptor working in wood and clay and steel. Stuart spent several decades as a practicing podiatrist, which required facility with hand and power instrumentation to repair and modify bony deformities of the foot. Now employing many of the same skills and using similar instrumentation in wood carving and modeling in clay, Stuart is able to use tools that were previously forbidden to him (given a remote injury potential that would have prevented him from caring for his patients). Stuart's years of experience with spatial relations and observation of the human form inform his interpretations through sculpture. The various woods for carving are culled from discards and all wood is local to South Carolina and the central Atlantic region, with the very dense live oak being prevalent. Stuart's fabrication of a figure or a design from steel connotes a permanence that is not obtained with either wood or clay.
"The creation of figurative sculpture compels a level of observation that would otherwise be superficial. Whether realistic or fanciful, molding the clay or carving the wood brings 'those around us' into a brighter light and with that, gives heightened understanding and appreciation of the conditions in which we live. We are part of a diverse population. The variability in physical characteristics is readily apparent. More subtle and often hidden variances present in many ways. The differences may result from experience or genetics, may be temporary or permanent,
inconsequential or significant. How we perceive them, too frequently causes us to turn away, or fail to accept the reality of circumstances so foreign to our own lives.
"I try to bring into focus the faces experiences joy and perhaps, pain of people I have met or merely observed. My interpretation may enhance their appearance, exaggerate a feature or occasionally, even attempt to present a real likeness. I have also used sculpture as a vehicle to express my emotions and to view the pain associated with mental health issues of depression to dementia. Several of the pieces are comprised of couples, reflecting the comfort of meaningful relationships. And, some are simply fanciful caricatures, emphasizing form over message.
"The abstract sculptures, primarily of wood, and more recently steel, reflect my visions of order or disorder. The piece may be influenced by the features of the material, with knots and inclusions of bark, cracks in the wood offering character and direction for the carving process."