With his latest installation, sculptor and CAW teaching artist Edwin (Ted) Salmon explores the collective trauma of the coronavirus pandemic in his installation on the first floor of the Hilles Gallery at CAW.
This show is both an attempt to acknowledge and process the collective trauma inflicted by COVID-19, and to repurpose the scrap metal from my fabrication business. In my sculpture practice, I often start with scrap metal but always smooth away any sharp edges, weld together loose pieces, and finish them with brightly colored paint.
First Wave represents a divergence from this method: the metal is unfinished and the pieces spread loosely into the gallery space. The unfinished scrap metal retains its true form, a biproduct of unregulated consumption, an empty echo of American industry.
The raggedness and emptiness of this installation speaks to the isolation, fear, and financial hardship foisted on us by the virus. Meanwhile, U.S. billionaires have seen their wealth surge $1.8 trillion during the pandemic, their collective fortune skyrocketing by nearly two-thirds.
As viewers move through the space, the rusted metal and empty windows provoke timeless questions of power, politics, and memory:
Who extracts the resources of this city?
How do the structures of a city tell its history?
What do we do with our collective grief?
New Haven Independent, Artist Builds City from Scraps, Brian Slattery