Scott Saunders: Integument
October 5th - November 2nd.
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 5th, 6:00pm
: something that covers or encloses; especially : an enveloping layer (as a skin, membrane, or cuticle) of an organism or one of its parts
This fall, Wayfarers is pleased to present Integument, an epistemological body of work by Scott Saunders that investigates how we construct knowledge about the world around us. Stemming from the Latin word for “a covering,” an integument serves multiple purposes: it shelters whatever it covers, it acts as a barrier to external elements, and it holds things in place inside. It is protection, in a way, against whatever lies beyond its veil, and it defines the things it envelopes by separating them from what they are not.
Similarly, we identify and classify our world through processes of separation, drawing lines between nature and machine, male and female, self and other, and mind and body, among others. These divides help us to make sense of the world, since, like an integument, they provide definition by erecting boundaries. As useful as these dichotomies are, however, they are also problematic, and invite more questions than they answer about how we know what we know. For example, where are the lines that divide these notions? Are those lines real? Do they blur together, or exist one inside another? Is the separation just in our mind? How is it that our mind is simultaneously separate from yet connected to the things it thinks about? Where do the mental and physical realms meet?
In Integument, Saunders’s finely crafted sculptures combine landscape and organic forms with abstracted, machine-like structures made from metal and plastic. By bringing together these diametrically opposed materials and forms, the artist mines such traditional divides as machine and nature for new meaning, and draws attentions to connections that might have been overlooked before. Viewers are encouraged in the process to re-examine their own beliefs about how they know what they know, and to ask where that knowledge originated.
As Saunders states, “I use my art making as a way of thinking about these subjects. I don't seek answers so much as the pleasure of exploring the questions. In the studio, each piece of each work is crafted in response to the original inquiry, to continue the thought process and to make manifest some object of the question. My specific reasoning and symbolism may not be readily apparent, but I hope that the viewer will create their own explanations for the parts of each piece coming together, the relationships between them, the connections they make, and the tensions they hold.”
Scott Saunders is a sculptor living and working in Austin, Texas. He received his MFA from Wichita State University in Kansas, and his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. He lived in New Orleans, Louisiana for 10 years before moving to Austin in 2008.