Peregrine O’Gormley is a sculptor based in the Pacific Northwest. His work is a modern and thoughtful take on nature with influences from the native art of the region. His work features a deep respect for his materials and their relationship to the subject of the work. Although this is a classic metaphor for man’s relationship to nature, O’Gormley brings a modern sensibility to it, with hints of abstraction in the form and an emphasis on the abstract nature of the wood grain.
O’Gormley received his degree in biology, and has dedicated his career to sculpting living forms. He has been carving since he was eight years old and is entirely self-taught.
“Since childhood, carving has been a meditation as well as a way of relating to the beauty I see. My work is more interpretive than representational. Though anatomically respectful, I aim to convey a feeling and a spirit rather than to emulate precisely. In my work, I engage the beauty of natural forms as catalyst for communication.”
Born and raised in the mountains of New Mexico, he traveled extensively in North America, and eventually traveled the world with his wife. They now live in northwestern Washington State with their two children. That travel furthered his appreciation for the environment and ecology. He uses wood that is sustainably harvested – either Forest Stewardship Council Certified, salvaged, gifts from old collections, dead trees, or drift logs.
“My father passed on to me a deep reverence for the natural world, and a joy in being witness to its glory, tempered by serious concern for its well-being.”
Raven is an excellent example of the influence of the Pacific Northwest. Its elongated vertical structure and abstracted hooked beak suggest the totemic style and imagery of the region. Look closer and you will see the marks of O’Gormley’s tools in the wood, evident even in the bronze casting. O’Gormley does not use sandpaper to polish his surfaces, he instead relies on constantly sharpened tools, which leave their marks as a kind of history of the labor and character of the wood.
“Wood poses many challenges as a medium for sculpture, however I choose it because it feels alive. Wood often emanates a strong and wonderful fragrance, and it carries an individual history that no other material offers. From the wood originals, I often cast limited bronze editions.”
Birds serve as an excellent subject matter. Their close dependence on their environment results in an easy susceptibility to any changes, making them beautiful and fragile reminders of ecological relationships. Point Begets Line is another work that illustrates this interdependence.
As in geometry, a point begets a line. In this case the prey becomes the point that begets the heron’s line of attack. Their interwoven relationship is encapsulated in this moment, along with their place in nature. O’Gormley adds even more to the moment by infusing Japanese iconography and varying the medium.
“The legs in this piece are made from naturally weathered Juniper branches. The natural weathering, strength, and durability of the Juniper, captures the enduring patience and unhurried precision of a Heron.”
His style exemplifies man’s relationship with nature, and is filled with opportunities for quiet contemplation. His pieces would make an excellent addition to the rustic and mindful home, built and designed for the nature lover. They can serve as a creative reminder of the relationship between our homes and the natural world.
Additional pieces by Peregrine O’Gormley are available in KUKUN’s Shop.