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Kevin Reiswig is a sculptor and furniture maker from the United States’ Midwest. His creations stem from his hearty fascination with plants, animals, and the land. A natural born forager, his work frequently incorporates scavenged materials from his environment. Kevin strives in his work for a viable practice of imagination, with an emphasis on quality, utility, and ethical responsibility.
Kevin is originally from Ohio and is a graduate of The College of Wooster, where he studied sculpture under the guidance of Walter Zurko. He has lived at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado twice: once as a summer workshop intern (2010) and again as artist-in-residence (2013). In 2010 he moved to Chicago, where he has worked most notably as a maker for Theaster Gates, John Preus, South-side Hub of Production, Rebuild Foundation, and others.
“I remember myself as a child, sitting on our front stoop, sharpening sticks on a rough concrete slab. This is my earliest memory of the tranquil feeling I get when my hands are engaged with materials. Sculptural exercise gives me a feeling of inner peace. My path has been dotted with waypoints where I made the decision to chase this feeling. The objects I’ve created are relics of this journey.
Work builds me as much as I build work. I have spent the last decade studying traditional craft techniques and expanding my scientific understanding of wood. Thousands of hours practicing the processes of milling, joinery, and wood shaping, as well as more obscure methods such as steam bending and coopering, have rewarded me with an intuitive relationship with wood. Working intimately with materials connects my mind, spirit, and hands with the physical world, and grounds me as a human being.
My creations are built with wood from my surroundings. When I lived in rural Ohio, my sculptures were made of wood milled from recently fallen trees. These pieces were abstractions that celebrated the essence of the material and referenced forms from the landscape of my life. Since moving to Chicago in 2010, my work has mostly consisted of studio furniture and architectural interventions that reimagine wood salvaged from alleyways or gutted buildings.
I think of the objects I make as poetic conversations with nature through materials. Improving skill, technique, and scientific knowledge increases my fluency in these discussions. The source of each material defines the context of the conversation. A recently fallen tree wants to talk about its environment, about the storm or insect that brought it down—about life, substance, and time. An old-growth pine joist, pulled from a 100-year old house in the City of Chicago and covered in soot, wants to talk about the history of architecture, stability and instability of the building, and the constantly changing society that left it to ruin or rehab.”