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Featured Artist: Wayne Viens
BioArtist statement
Contact the artistContact ARTSomerville


Wayne Viens has lived in Somerville for seven years and runs the Goodwill in Davis Square. An an assemblage artist as well as a photographer, Viens was a Somerville Arts Council Grant Winner in 2000 and a member of the Revolving Museum through the 90s. He has performed in two bands as a singer—Valdez the Sinner and The Crown Electric Company.

Viens is best known to the Somerville community for his Halloween window exhibit at Goodwill each year. His work was featured in a Boston Globe this past October. The artist will be moving to Vernon Street Studios this month and is working on new totems and fetish dolls for an upcoming show.

Artist Statement
“I would
rather call everything else holy, you know, even
plowing a good way into garbage, taking that on
as having, perhaps, just served a sacred function
or, having just passed through the cleansing of decay,
just about to:  for, you know, forms are never
permanent form, change the permanence, so
that one thing one day is something else another
day, and the energy that informs all forms just
breezes right through filth as clean as a whistle...”

—A.R. Ammons, Garbage

I began working in the medium of sculpture using found objects about 20 years ago when I was running (and living in) my second-hand/junk shop in the Fenway neighborhood in Boston, MA. After years of using photography as my main medium, I began playing around with the wild assortment of objects I found while trash-picking to make a living.  The instant “art” I made in the dark alleyways of Boston’s many neighborhoods provided an immediate gratification I had not experienced before.  Even the seemingly chaotic juxtaposition of objects for sale in my store began to take on inherent sculptural qualities.

I have always delighted in saving things from the trash, things that would have been crushed and destroyed forever if I had not rescued them.  My favorite objects for art-making are dolls, toys, stuffed animals, mannequin parts, and faces of all kinds.  Sometimes the worn dolls and stuffed animals I find tell whole stories just as they are, but mostly I am interested in transforming them; wrapping them with panty-hose, rope, cloth, lace, underwear, yarn, etc.  Often they are decorated with hundreds of treasures also salvaged: beads, baubles, pins, rhinestones, glasses, masks, and other objects.  I like to think I turn these often tragic cast-offs into gods and goddesses, fetishes and trophies, demons and warriors.  They also represent spirit guides that aid us on our journey through life, and the lost souls that don’t make it.

As children and adults, I believe we continuously explore the fantasy world of myth and struggle, using those metaphors which help us to meet life’s challenges and move towards our dreams.  My work represents fears faced, explored and shattered; and as trophies they represent personal transformation and the rescue of the soul from inner demons and destruction.  Perhaps it’s also about trying to “keep it all together” and “tied up”.  But within my framework themes of birth, abandonment, rebirth, and salvation, humor is the great unifier: sometimes mocking the foolishness, waste, and hubris of misguided human endeavor, (as witnessed in our outrageously cavalier throw-away culture), and sometimes laughing affectionately at the often head-shaking pathos of simply being a human being.

—Wayne Viens

The Nave Gallery, P.O. Box 43600, Somerville, MA 02143. © 2004-2009. All rights reserved.

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