Paul Martin Wolff




I sculpt in sandstone. The maquettes are then cast at the foundry in bronze or stainless steel. I select soapstone because it is hard enough to hold an edge and soft enough to be worked with hand tools and without an air compressor which lessens the feel for the stone and to me detracts from the relationship between the artist and the stone. The maquette stands on its own as a work of art with its own elegant veining and subtle color variations. Working with subtraction rather than addition, as with clay, provides a never-ending search for the object inside the stone, a communion between artist and object that does not exist with any other medium. Because the finality of any sculpting, working in stone requires heightened contemplation and carries with it a constant risk that what the mind’s eye sees will not translate aesthetically. Producing a maquette in stone provides a sense of accomplishment for me not otherwise available. My work is entirely abstract, solely done to please the viewer’s eye. There are no themes. Nothing is represented or alluded to. The quest is neither historical not autobiographical. Names for my work are selected by the foundry, purely for the purposes of identification. Any resemblance to any object or idea is solely for the mind of the viewer. My search is to find the figure lurking inside the stone. No artist has influenced me more than Barbara Hepworth whose work has set a bar so high that I could never approach it, but which nonetheless gives me tremendous enjoyment in trying. The absence of space that marks so many of her works for me has been a recurring motif, not by design, but as the end product of my search for what the stone will reveal. All of this is not to say that what I sculpt is without reference or anchor. What I ultimately see in the stone is influenced by what I’ve already seen and where I’ve been. My vision has been shaped by people and experiences. I was exposed at an early age to art by my parents who believed that one of God’s greatest gifts to man was artistic talent and that nothing evidenced God’s existence better than nature in all its manifest beauty and man’s efforts to match it. I concur in this belief and think my art as a way of connecting with God’s creativity. The effort to create art is deeply contemplative and spiritual for me. Paul Wolff is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Harvard Law School. He studied at the Corcoran School of Art. His work is in private collections as well as the collections of the Harvard School; Morgan Lewis; White and Case; Baach, Robinson and Lewis, DLA Piper Rudnick; and Williams and Connelly.