Artist Statement

My name is Michael Benton Weddington, and I am a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. As an artist and as a human being, I am convinced of the importance of constant introspection, inquiry, and rebirth. I seek to understand the lines that define our culture's dualities and to test my hand at blending, breaking, or otherwise lampooning these stifling boundaries.

I am a trained painter and multimedia sculptor, and I also enjoy writing fiction, poetry, and music. In 2015, I graduated from UNC Asheville with a BA in Literature and a minor in art. I came to my love of sculpture late in my art career, but I have ravenously worked at it ever since. I believe that success in art or any pursuit is contingent upon both individual hard work and community support.

During and since college, I worked as a fine dining cook, a tutor, an apprentice to a General Contractor doing carpentry, tile, painting, and other general construction and remodeling work. I believe these pursuits parallel my passion as a fine artist, as they are practical means of taking my classroom skills out into the community.

Since completing my Bachelor’s degree, I have spent my time working and creating sculpture, painting, and poetry, and conducting independent studies via several online open-source education portals as well as several courses at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Institute. I believe that continuous learning and a rigorous work ethic go hand-in-hand in the pursuit of a well-rounded and fulfilling life and that the production and consumption of art in any form are not exceptions.

Throughout the course of my Literature studies, I developed a deep respect for the power of rhetoric, and I believe strongly that an understanding of the techniques of textual analysis bolsters one’s ability to evaluate and respond to real-life situations. When I came to sculpture late in my undergraduate studies, I began to apply this critical gaze to my creative work as I nurtured my new passion for making in the studios of my alma mater. I also believe in the narrative power of static works of art.

In my most recent work I use wood, metal, plaster and found objects to create 3D forms and compositions that are often abstract or symbolic rather than representative. I also practice drawing, oil painting, and digital photo manipulation. I strive, in any medium, to create striking visual compositions and pose difficult questions simultaneously.

One of my principal inspirations for pushing further into my sculpture practice is the work of the late Chris Burden. His sculptures and installation work in particular pushes boundaries in material as well as social critique. I also admire the extreme nature of the artist’s vision and his ability to make his wild ideas into reality. Works like Burden’s massive kinetic piece Metropolis II showed me the artist’s power to not only to tackle challenging problems of design and color, but to face down pressing issues in engineering and architecture that will determine the future of cities and social life. When Chris Burden’s death occurred at the tail-end of my studies at UNCA, it caused me to reevaluate the artist’s role in society and reaffirmed my commitment to making.

Influenced by Burden’s work, Daan Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower, my personal experience with the 2015 Mechatronics and Sculputure Collaboration at UNCA, and my own interest in the fantastic and science-fictional, I have branched into a realm somewhat beyond sculpture. In addition to my more traditional work, I have been working steadily on several other projects designed to benefit both the arts and society. My main concerns in this aspect of my work involve urban lighting, accessibility, housing, and, like Burden, public transportation. I believe that the creative power of art can beget the serendipity of invention and any distinction between the two is as a result of our culture’s limited scope of the importance of inquisitive creation.