This extraordinary work by Steve Dilworth is cast in bronze with a fully articulated sterling silver vertebrae encased inside. The artist says: All thing contain energy. It is self-evident, and by changing their shape or position you can alter the energy or strengthen it. You end up making power objects and that is ultimately what sculpture is for me. It is not primarily visual art. An artist creates music, art or whatever but it transcends the material. Otherwise it is worthless.
The landscape of eastern Harris is both rugged and beautiful in the extreme, with exposed rock three thousand million years old left by scouring glaciers from the last ice age. The energy and presence of such surroundings are powerfully conveyed in Dilworth’s work, having made the island his home since 1983. Dilworth is renowned for using a vast range of natural materials, mostly found on the island. Indeed, Dilworth used ‘once-living’ objects in his work long before it was fashionable in contemporary art.
The internal and external parts of his sculptures are considered equally – many are containers holding other elements, some visible, some not. His ritualised method of construction adds a shamanistic quality to his work. This primitivist element is almost always present, although some of his elegant formal carvings owe more to a modernist inspiration.
Dilworth often encases natural objects he has found within his sculptures. The solid remains of animals and birds, beautiful in their own right, impart an energy and life to his sculpture. Even when completely enclosed, like the heart in a living body or the engine in a static vehicle, they empower the sculpture in both conceptual and symbolic ways.