During the second week of May 2021, Wing created this double portrait in ash. The piece depicts a man and a woman tilting their heads toward one another in a sympathetic gesture. The title is taken from a James Blood Ulmer song that played in Wing’s social media feed on Saturday morning, the day after the piece was started. Seemed highly appropriate. Click this link to hear the song:
The wood came from a large ash tree in Rose Valley that Wing carved in 2019. The tree was taken down and made into a large, rooted sculpture due to the imminent arrival of the destructive emerald ash borer beetle. The tree has been given new life as art.
For nearly the first time ever, Wing has pigmented the oil finish to give the wood a bright orange cast. Ash naturally has a very light color and pronounced grain. The orange pigment comes from a tube of artist’s oil colors, mixed into the oil finish and rubbed on with a cloth.
This piece of ash has been in Wing’s studio for over a year and is now quite dry and stable. Using a sharpie marker Wing first drew the two heads very quickly. He wanted to create a relief carving that reflected the simple line drawing. The initial drawing was then traced using a chainsaw, careful to vary the depth of the cuts. Then Wing used chisels, gouges and knives to create the form and surface of the carving. After some quick cleanup, Wing applied the pigmented oil finish. Not including the many months of seasoning the wood and gestating the idea, the carving was completed in less than four days. For Wing completing a sculpture, a process which at the start of his career took many weeks, sometimes months, has been getting quicker. The direct approach and execution is in keeping with Wing’s desire to create ever bolder sculptures in solid materials with greater immediacy.