Recognizing Metaphor

“Recognizing metaphor in life is the highest form of genius.” -David Charron
When we see connections between seemingly unrelated things, poetry in struggle, dendrites in leaves, we are literally forging new paths of possibility in our minds and in the world around us. New synapses are formed and reinforced. Novel neural networks are ignited. And the medial frontal lobe launches us forward on a path of meaning, making our marks.
The piece above, resembling a neuronal synapse in wood, is by artist Charles Pifer. It is the result of an experimental artistic process combining various natural woods, electrolytic solutions and electric currents.


An excerpt of the process from the artist’s own words:
“I throw the switch with a 5 foot section of PVC pipe to prevent being anywhere near the device while it is on. Immediately the electricity begins to burn it’s way through the porous wood soaked in the electrolytic solution.”


“The electricity is seeking the path of least resistance between the clips, and the neuronal forms are a byproduct of this action. Once the two sides meet, the electricity begins to arc through the air. I suspect it is using the wood smoke as a medium for travel as the device cannot arc this far normally. I shut off the machine before the piece catches fire.”


“I take the burned wood and brush out the char. I paint the entire piece and sand down the surface until only the paint in the electrically annihilated forms remains.”

Beautiful! Thank you, Charles!

Charles Pifer is a local Architect and Founder of Blade and Branch, a small business based in Tucson, Arizona, which is focused on and harnessing natural phenomenon into beautiful art pieces.

[Photo credit: Charles Pifer, December 2017]


Leave a Reply