Martin Antaramian, Kenosha

2016 RAM Artist Fellowship Winner

What makes something real? This question is what drives my artwork. The creation of a formal language completely changed the way in which we perceive our world. We created words so that we may label and describe what we have observed. Our realities have become constructed around objects or ideas that we can label and understand.

For this reason almost all thought is done within the parameters of our language. While this does allow us to effectively communicate with each other, it also creates barriers within our minds of what certain things should look like. For example, the dictionary definition of a table is “An article of furniture with a flat horizontal top upheld by one or more supports.” While this is vague enough to encompass nearly any feasible functional table, if you were to ask an average person to draw a picture of a table they would most likely draw a flat rectangle with a leg in each corner.

With such a vague definition of a table why would so many people draw the same picture of one? It is because the word table itself is a generalized blanket term. It groups together so many possibilities that it is easiest for people to just reduce it to its simplest form or idea. Most people’s realities have been reduced to everything’s simplest form because of this. I find this incredibly dull.

The inspiration for my artwork comes from the desire to make the world I live in so intricate, and unexpected that it breaks down peoples preconceived notions of what things should look like to the point where they almost need to redefine it. Every single object in our world is a sculpture, and I want people to see them as such.

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Martin Antaramian
Waitomo Burl, 2015
Maple burl, bronze, and resin
20 x 20 x 21 1/2 inches
Martin Antaramian
Cherry Waltz, 2013
24 x 24 x 26 inches
Martin Antaramian
Lily, 2013
Padauk and maple
21 x 21 x 20 inches
Martin Antaramian
Black Waltz, 2015
Black walnut
24 1/2 x 24 1/2 x 25 inches