Andre Woodward started out studying marine biology at California State Long Beach before transferring to University of California, Irving for an MFA. Interested in the natural world since the beginning of his secondary education, Woodard developed an intense interest in his environment and the relationship between the natural and the man-made. In his sculptures he displays a living tree encased in a block of concrete or a pothole or uses speakers as planters and often uses multiple time based elements such as a soundtrack or lighting. He refers to his works as complex systems with an infrastructure that becomes its own entity.
Woodward’s sculpture Darklands is the epitome of the contrast between natural and urban that he strives to recreate. The metal legs holding the pothole planter up give the sculpture vertical lift and draw the viewer’s eye to the living entity trapped in the concrete. The neutral colors of the base give way to the bright green of the tree’s leaves and allow it to become the focal point. Although the materials used by Woodward are at odds, the textures and visual appearance complement one another; the concrete and bark are of similar textures and the free tangle of cords below the pothole echo the intertwining branches of the tree.
Andre’s work speaks to me through the relatable materials he uses. I have a place in my heart for all things green and the knowledge that they won’t survive trapped in the concrete makes me sympathetic for them. The asphalt, lamps, electrical cords, and speakers are also objects I am familiar with in the urban environment we live in. The way he combines such contradicting objects inspires me and makes me contemplate how to display my own work…maybe a visually contrasting material is the way to go.