The time-honored tradition of stacking stones is fascinating to Bay Area sculptor Roger Arvid Anderson. Instead of piling rocks in an organized fashion, Anderson stacks chunks of industrial foam that he cuts and tears. “I get to do, in minutes and hours, what Mother Nature takes eons to do,” he says.
Works from Anderson’s “Megaliths” series are on display in a two-artist show with photographer Steven A. Jackson that opens at 5 p.m. on September 7 at New Concept Gallery.
Anderson says his Megaliths are metaphors for events and forms that invite the viewer to give them personal meaning. “My goal is to stimulate your imagination,” he says.
The idea for a new sculpture begins with a drawing. “I do a lot of drawings of stacked shapes. I get drawing fever,” he adds. Sketches allow Anderson to visualize what he can do with various shapes. Deciding what shapes to put together is, he says, a little like arranging a marriage.
The sculpture’s texture is paramount to Anderson, who finds he can get wonderful textures from high density foam. The foam is cut with a Japanese saw with a long blade and short handle. Plaster and clay, that may be applied to the foam in different places, create even more texture.
Anderson’s foam molds are cast in bronze. Once cast, they go through another change. “I look for areas inside the sculpture that I can smooth as a surface for etching short poems,” he explains. “I call them archaeological teases as someday a scholar will look inside my bronzes and find a message.”
A Renaissance man who studied creative writing with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Eberhart at Dartmouth College and later won awards for his own poetry, Anderson also studied modern European history with Sir Harry Hinsley, who was a wartime advisor to Winston Churchill.
It was during the 1980s when Anderson became increasingly active as a sculptor and embarked on bodies of work in various media that have evolved through the years.