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Deborah McLeod

Shelter has been a primary symbolic focus and social concern for most of Craig Pleasants’ career as a sculptor. His pursuit of the cultural manifestations of housing has long been inspired by primitive building- approaches, particularly those utilizing the simplest and most convenient materials at hand. Pleasants extrapolates from these traditions to turn his reductive sculpture interpretations into works of art.

The idea of home remains at their core. Every home contains something akin to the dream and the drive for sanctuary, an enclosure for privacy, protection from elements and predators, a womb in which to shelter a family. It is certainly the most essential of all human creative acts even as the idea of “home” has evolved in tandem with the evolution of personal wealth and technical know-how.

Craig Pleasants looks deeply into the heart of that evolution. He has interpreted vernacular building worldwide, conceived of shelter for the homeless, experimented with salvaged and ecologically friendly materials, constructed ceremonial gathering places, , designed and created his own family’s home (the first Octagonal Living Unit), and subsequently devised plans for a kit house that can be used in multiple ways.

Dodecahedron was one of a  series of remarkable structures constructed from charred strips of lumber. Borrowing a technique used by ancient builders to set the precise placement of each board, Pleasants erects the walls of these works by tying a string to his wrist that had been attached to a fixed point, thus determining an exact hemisphere. Chicahominy, an even earlier work was constructed from cattails in that particular Virginia Indian tribe’s building tradition. Terra Cotta is inspired by hay bale construction of the American prairie, while Apiary has its roots in African Nomadic woven stick and wrap construction.

The Metaphorical House (OLU2.0) featured in Homing Devices at Chroma Projects follows the tradition of the Barn Raising, but in a contemporary and global milieu. This crossover sculptural/architectural construction is fully functional, designed to be as useful as a work of art sitting out in the field or garden as a tea house or art studio. However the modern version of raising the barn is to invest in an OLU2.0 and in doing so to also invest in  additional units of replacement housing for  Haitian families.

As our world has become more aware of and involved in our shared human situation, Pleasants’ artistic viewpoint has reached a maturation point, exceeding his previous role as interpreter and commentator, to encompass one of conscientious social activism.

To this end we invite you to journey with the artist along this catalog’s tour to its present  culmination in the benevolent act of shared creativity .

Deborah McLeod, Owner/Director,  Chroma Projects Art Laboratory

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