parts of a wholecedar carving by Barry Herem, five by six feet, two inches thick.
I am fascinated by the idea of the binding energy which flexibly fixes our world and the universe in place, that no atom can be split, no essential arrangement broken without evoking again something like the initial cataclysm which created our world. This recalls to my mind the strict yet flexible interrelated shapes of formline art, the flat design system invented by the ancient native people of the Northwest Coast.
Hence I designed and carved Binding Energy to represent a kind of formline Big Bang, in effect a kind of expanding pixel of an imaginary cosmos made of formline design conventions. It is random and yet principled, though it has not yet taken any of the final animistic shapes one usually sees in formline art. Yet it is filled with the shapes that will be used in their making. Thus we see no faces or bodies per se, only those disparate parts which compose whole creatures: eyes, hands, talons, feathering, fins, wings…all yet to be assembled into final form. For now it is the world without form or shape except for the shapes themselves.
This then was designed to be displayed as a unified arrangement of creatures yet to be, or made even more abstract and suggestible by separating any of the five panels in any arrangement desired. They would work with each being separated from the other by a few inches, arranged vertically, or with some sections upside down, any way, or playful arrangement is possible.