Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Michael DeMeng - Getting Kinda Rusty

Michael DeMeng
For assemblage artist, Michael DeMeng, rust plays a significant role in his work. In fact, he authored a book called, "Secrets of Rusty Things"

This is “Little Ben”, one of Michael's latest creations. The assemblage was fashioned out of a roller skate, an alarm clock and a Goodwill dolly.

About his work, Demeng says, “My work is about transformations. It is about the transformation of the common into the sacred. Discarded materials find new and unexpected uses in my work; they are reassembled and conjoined with unlikely components, a form of rebirth from the ashes into new life and new meaning. These assemblages are metaphors for the evolutions and revolutions of existence: from life to death to rebirth, from new to old to renewed, from construction to destruction to reconstruction. These forms are examinations of the world in perpetual flux, where meaning and function are ever-changing.”

An excellent example of this is his life size Mother’s Day offering that is based on one of the most complex Hindu deities, Kali Ma, the Dark Mother.

"One missing feature that I deliberated long and hard on is the traditional Kali tougue. I tried it and it was too much for this particular piece. Instead I sort of insinuate it."

In his article for the Missoula Independent, Andy Smetanka described DeMeng’s studio much the same way someone would describe mine: “...a jumbo cardboard box full of cut-up and yet-to-be-cut-up magazines here, the rusty innards of a mechanical cash register there. A bag of bottle caps. Buckets of gears and cogs. Threaded brass bushings and odd bits of rusting iron everywhere. There’s crap all over the place.” (One man's trash…
by Andy Smetanka -Missoula Independent Vol. 16 No. 3 - Issue Date 1/20/2005)
(insert Demeng’s studio)

Michael’s assemblages are created from objects that he finds here and there…yard sales, antique shops…..He transforms them into works of art that transcend steam punk into a genre of their own. He glues them and paints and welds them until they no longer even remotely resemble their original forms. Strange, other-worldly animal-based pieces called, “mmanimals” that he classifies as his “Zoo-Illogicals” seem to beckon viewers to step closer.

Each of his rusty shrines appears to commemorate some mythological metal diety or... poet, as the case may be...

No home is complete without at least one Michae DeMeng Pez dispenser:

…and this bra assemblage almost defies description.

Michae travels the world over teaching workshops to people who are interested in learning his unique assemblage techniques. Please CLICK HERE for his workshop and exhibit schedule. His ONLINE STORE has all kinds of nifty ware for the DeMeng enthusiast and readers can find out even more about Michael DeMeng at HIS WEB SITE. He has one of the best blogs out there which you can find by clicking HERE.

Stacy Alexander