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Between Sculpture and Architecture: Narrative in Concrete by David Umemoto

Between Sculpture and Architecture: Narrative in Concrete by David Umemoto

"A picture is worth a thousand words." 
That resonated powerfully with me when I saw images of David Umemoto's work online.
Sitting hundreds of miles away, I could still sense the multiple layers of meaning in his concrete installations and sculptures. I could feel the riveting experience of spaces created inside even the smallest of his works. It became easy to imagine myself in the arched passageway you see below, running my hands against the textured concrete walls as I walked by.
 Interior-ii by David Umemoto- A tactile visual experience that defies scale.

Interior-ii by David Umemoto- A tactile visual experience that defies scale.

I was intrigued by Umemoto's delicate yet gruff craftsmanship, and the fact that his work has multiple scales. So, I reached out to him, and through our conversation, I learned about his journey as an artist( and architect), his philosophy, and his process of creation.

Looking at some of his spatial images shown here, you might imagine that the actual works are close to 10-12 feet tall. In reality, you will be surprised to learn; they are no larger than 1 or 2 feet in any direction. Umemoto envisions that these small sculptural models can be scaled up and serve, spatially, as architecture. 
His work sits decisively and deliberately between Sculpture and Architecture.

 Interior-i by David Umemoto.

Interior-i by David Umemoto.

Now, it all makes sense to me–The intended illusion of scales. The reasons why Umemoto's small models have such textural detail and so much effort goes into their minute modular molding. It is because, in an enlarged, architectural size, these models could effortlessly serve as beautiful, thought-provoking interior spaces for us.

 Brutalist Concrete Vase No.1- by David Umemoto. Observe the detailed molding and delicate forms on the vases- which are only 12" high.

Brutalist Concrete Vase No.1- by David Umemoto. Observe the detailed molding and delicate forms on the vases- which are only 12" high.

Modularity is a theme that continues in David's work. A few pieces of his work can quickly come together and form larger installations. But no one piece is created to be oversized or overly monumental, though each piece is complex and layered.

Next week, we divulge the entirety of our stimulating conversation with David and share what we learned about his methods, process, and journey. Look out for our 'Process' piece with David early next week!

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