A straight line can be drawn from the big open skies over northern Wyoming to the sculptural mobiles of Geoff Kuzara. Like the clouds cascading over the Big Horn Mountains where this former packer would roam, his simple but elegant works graze in their open spaces. He’s trying to catch light through elemental machines rendered in wood or steel, or a combination of the two. They are always moving and always changing as the glint of light falls upon them and they slice through the air around them.
Kuzara’s experience as a scientific draftsman, the son of an engineer and an adrenalin junkie pursuing the mechanics of hang gliding, telemark skiing, canoe racing and bicycling combine to inform the technicality of his works, but also the appeal of his aesthetics. “I have always leaned toward these outdoor sports that involve—if you look at a hang glider, it is actually a very elegant, very simple thing. Then if you look at my mobiles you’ll see there is balance [like] in flying a hang glider or telemark skiing or kayaking…they all sort of have a lenticular shape to them, they all require a great deal of balance, they all move somehow or another in relationship to their shapes. If you look at my mobiles and at a cross section of an airplane wing, especially an older airplane, you say, ‘Oh wow, this could have been cut from the inside of an old airplane wing.’”
Nature is another significant factor in the work. The artist believes “all art reciprocates nature” and references the truth in this, whether it be one of Cezanne’s paintings or the exactitude of something else. “When we see something that is pleasing to us, it’s pleasing to us because there is something that is naturally familiar to us…[Cezanne] reduced everything down to its elemental geometric shapes first and then he built on those. He rarely ever started anything without first describing it in its elemental terms. As far as why this piece only has three and I stopped there and that one has more, I am not really sure. I have two ways that I work. One is I am very deliberate. I have an idea, I do an engineering drawing and then I execute it…other times I am just working with materials and letting the materials guide me.”
The materials Kuzara favors include wire, wood, clay and stone. The organics of the item are what speak to him, so too do the space and scale he has to play with. But at all times he’s synchronizing engineering with art. He’s trying for a marriage of the elements of engineering, craftsmanship and aesthetics to create a continuity of energy. And his mobiles silently whir in accordance.