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Staff Pick: Sculpture by Ken Reynolds

By Peter Laughlin, Folk Art Studio Supervisor

Photographs by Melanie Bernier

Ken Reynolds has produced lots of amazing artwork over the years, but recently, his sculpture career has taken a meteoric rise due to an exciting new series. For this body of work, which he simply refers to as “Sculpture,” Reynolds engulfs found objects with thousands of colorful glass beads strung on thin wire.

Part of what makes these works so amazing is the sheer volume of beads contrasted with their miniscule size. At 20 beads per inch of wire, this sculpture has more than 50,000 seed beads affixed to a repurposed armature. Laid end to end, the beaded wire would span the seventy yard line from one end-zone of a football field. This piece summons powerful insights on time and space as each bead, just a seed of a moment, is repeated in cycles at subtly varying scales.

It must be mentioned that Reynolds performs this intricate work persistently, but without ever seeing it.  He creates his sculptures entirely through the “sight” of his two sensitive hands.  The process is unimpeded and swift; Reynolds can produce about two meters of beaded string in a 60- minute sitting.  When he decides to create a new sculpture, Reynolds naturally selects looping objects, such as a primitive harp and scraps of a chair. 

A fascinating man in so many ways, Reynolds has acute attention to calendar time, even possessing the rare ability to forecast numbered dates with their corresponding weekday. Through his quiet persistence, he offers us work that can be enjoyed in hand and on display. The first work in this series was sold in Gateway Gallery’s winter show, 100 and Under, while another will be included in a spring exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum, titled Shine a Light.

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