Daniel Johnson


Location: Park Central West

My piece Heartstringsshows a feeling of tension and elasticity in an otherwise stationary sculpture. By capturing the essence and flow of stretched material, the piece conveys how a person is tethered to the many feelings present in their lives. Guilt, duty, love, and hate have all penetrated into the essence of our lives and can make us feel pulled apart. The sculpture displays those emotions.

            The sphere in the center is meant to be representative of a human heart, a symbol for a person’s cumulative being. Its large, round form gives the viewer a sense of wholeness and density, further reinforcing the imagery intended. Elastic branches are extended from the center to give the illusion of tension, juxtaposing the imagery of tightness with the viewer’s interpretation of the human’s spirit within the central ball. Conversely, the red fixture is secured to geometric frames of steel that reverse any feelings of tension exhibited. The metal frames serve as a means to surround the stretched ball with a feeling of rigidity, the right angles being a sharp contrast to the much more organic flow in the center. Symbolically, the metal represents the chemical functions in our brains that so directly affect us.

            I researched the exact definition of the word tensefor this piece. In the beginning, I thought of the word as meaning violentor passionate, in opposition to the word calm. I soon learned that was not the case. Tenseis a far more subdued word, it embodies that idea of potential energy, like a spring pushed into itself. I took that idea and ran with it, looking into artists that made sculptures that exhibited a feeling of rope-like tension. I wanted to capitalize on that feeling that makes your stomach twist when you see a heavy object balancing right on its edge over a ledge, or a drop of water on the bottom of a surface, moments away from breaking its connection and falling. Those were the feelings I looked for in the artists I researched. Through inspiration from these sculptors, I started designing models that featured some sort of stretchy texture. I even found images of grilled cheese sandwiches being pulled apart online, and tried to mimic the way the two halves disconnected. My final product is a direct result of my time during research, where I discovered the powerful form of tension.

Sponsor: Robert & Peg Carolla