One of the things that really interest me is the relationship between technology and the natural world. Structures like bridges, wind mills, waterwheels, boats, and electrical towers are inspiring for their combination of elegant design, utility and the ingeniousness in which they interact with the environment.

Most of my work uses steel and stone. I combine the two, often kinetically, in ways that deal with weight, weightlessness, balance and motion. On a symbolic level I tend to think of the steel as rational and engineered, a kind of shorthand for technology, and the stone as natural and organic. The relationship between these two aspects of the sculpture is symbolic of similar qualities, the rational and the intuitive for instance, that reside in all of us.

Though no minimalist, I do try to create the maximum impact with a minimum of means. A spare use of material and simplicity of design are important to me, not because they are noble qualities in and of themselves, but because they can help lead the viewer to see through the physical, to the relationships and ideas that are to me the real subject matter. Zen haiku might, as an example, be the literary equivalent.

Finding a balance among polarities like this is key to my work and is probably most evident in the kinetic pieces. I could use the title of Dynamic Stillness for this group of work for they all deal with the twin qualities of motion and rest, power and poise, heavy and light, effort and effortless. Kinetic in this case demands a viewers participation because it is only through interaction that this group of work exhibits the dynamic qualities of their dual existence.

Solid craftsmanship, elegant design, and a careful choice of material are all basic elements in my work. They provide a vocabulary from which to visually explore the complex relationship between man and nature or the equally complex interplay between intellect and emotion.

J A M E S   L A P P