American, b. 1949
Craig Schaffer’s Welded Fractal Series is inspired by the infinitely repetitive building blocks of all elements of life. In his sculptures, Craig explores the shapes created by the stems and leaves of plants as they reach for the light, the convoluted unfurling of clouds, the formation and fracturing of mountains, and the jaggedness of the coastline as it kisses the sea. Real life is nonlinear and reflective, so the spiraled paths carved in our consciousness by these natural processes are mirrored in Craig’s work.
His sculptures are dynamic and powerful meditations on the reality of repetition in nature and life. This series was featured in the Morgan Stanley Garden at the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The garden is inspired by the fractal geometry and patterns found in nature, music, art, and communities. A sinuous path moves through three distinct garden areas, from verdant woodland to a central oak loggia and out onto a sun-drenched terrace. The Garden was designed by Chris Beardshaw and won Best Show and the Silver Gilt medal. See pictures and read more about the garden here
The Infinite Loop sculptures use forms with infinite surfaces to expand our concepts of processes usually viewed as linear. Turning the classic 2-part hourglass form inside-out could embody cyclical Time. Making the DNA double helix into an infinite form addresses the cyclical and reflexive nature of Life.
Throughout history, the spiral has always been one of the most fundamental and symbolically essential shapes in science, art, and philosophy. In recent studies of complex phenomena, scientists have discovered that the spiral is even more prevalent and meaningful than previously thought. In measuring and mapping with computers, the profoundly complex and sensitive interactions within and between dynamic systems, researchers have found varied yet similar patterns and rhythms across all orders of magnitude and between organic and inorganic systems. In one sense scientists have proven what artists and philosophers have known all along- that all things in existence are bound together, and that through their coevolution and parallel evolutions produce meaningful rhythms and patterns that are sometimes easy to observe yet difficult to quantify.
These sculptures contain spirals, each formed with different units and different interactions. They are also inspired by fractals, shapes that repeat themselves in ever-decreasing size. They are not illustrations of any specific phenomena but, instead, grow in the same reflexive manner as real-life forms and systems.
Craig Schaffer received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Craig maintains two studios: one in Washington, D.C. and the other in Pietrasanta, Italy. Craig has completed public commissions for the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, the Mathematical Association of America, Brown Tower Mathematics Building at Ohio State University, Baptist Hospital Desoto in Memphis, the Hualien Cultural Center in Taiwan, the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center in Columbus, and the Robins Center for Philanthropy.