In the Studio with Rebecca Welz

October 7th, 2022

Sculptor Rebecca Welz sat down with us to discuss her recent body of work “Displacement.”

What is your work/ this new body about?

My latest body of work is called “Displacement”. I was in Guatemala with a group of designers collaborating with local weavers, woodworkers, leatherworkers and in my case, a jewelry maker. I designed a bracelet that had 19 houses on it to signify the number of times I have moved. It was powerful to see my experience put into form. I expanded upon the idea of Displacement when I returned to my studio.

My father was in the US Airforce and we moved a lot. The houses changed but the objects inside stayed the same and were placed in different configurations. Observing the impact of pulling up roots and resettling so many times led me to consider, unlike my family, those who are forced to move.

The “Displacement” series is a tribute to the millions of people who have been displaced from their homes due to political unrest, tyranny, genocide, economic hardship, famine, and lack of resources in their native countries. Many people are forced to leave their homes as a last resort for survival without knowing if or when they will ever have the security of a home. The steel houses symbolize the sanctuary of four walls and the security of a roof overhead. They represent different lives, places, and times in the quest for safety and a sense of belonging.

How is this work made? What materials did you use and why?

The sculpture is made with an oxy-acetylene welding torch to both bend and join steel rods of varying thicknesses. I see the work as if it was drawing in space three dimensionally, rods weaving and bending around and through each other creating form, utilizing curves of every kind. For the Displacement series, I reintroduced color into my work by coating many of the houses with paint or powder coating. I enjoy the restriction and the freedom of using one primary element, line, to make my artwork.

What excites you to make your work? Why do you make art?

My study of biomimicry, observing how nature functions and applying it to human made objects, has propelled me to study jellyfish, barnacles, mangroves among other natural forms and processes. I am in awe of what nature can do, how creatures adapt and survive and what we can learn. My adventures have provided me with rich material; from exploring mangroves in Guyana and Central America to scuba diving in Mexico, Belize and the Bahamas.

Pink House
Rebecca Welz
Rebecca Welz, "Double House," blackening, paint on welded steel
Double House
Rebecca Welz
Basket Barnacle
Rebecca Welz
Warm And Cool
Rebecca Welz
Rebecca Welz