My art is an experiment with the induction of attention and presence for the
alteration to higher dimensional morphology.
Needhams favored sculpture media are wood, alabaster, and
The wood sculptures of Claude Needham are reminiscent of the early Cubist masters in
France and Germany as well as some of the smaller works of Henry Moore. Needham uncovers
forms that are inherent in the raw woods which come to him.
His sculptures are three-dimensional in form but convey strong overtones of non-visual
perceptions. They are an invitation to touch, sense and feel the compassionate mood that
is unique to the process that takes place in his studio: the liberation of inherent forms
from neglected material. He calls his technique: Direct carving, with a hand guided
by adoration of the piecethe veiled inner form.
The same process of redemption of found objects that tend to remain
unnoticed to the ordinary vision applies to the installation art of Claude Needhaman
old flatiron, a ball-and-chain, indefinable pieces of iron from the early industrial age,
anthropo- morphic fragments assembled from the discards of daily lifethe makings of
a post-industrial sculpture.
The aesthetic of Needhams oeuvre frequently touches worlds that are as alien as
Lovecrafts tales of the underworld. Startling horror lingers on the edge of the
confrontable, but there is always a balancing dash of humor. A Solomons Ring that he
uses to get through to his morestartling piece is: You cant change what it is,
but you can learn to like it.
An ant walking over a sleeping persons chest may have all manner of explanation
for the rising and falling of the fleshy ground. Philosophies and religions can grow from
rampant speculation as to the real significance of the movement under foot
(all antie eight of them). When pushed to speak about my art I usually refer to it as a
form of breathing. The manifestation of that breath in this world looks like art.
Whether I am drawing a building, crafting a hallway, or sculpting an extended torus
Im involved in portraiture non-human, but portraits none-the-less.
I love working in multi-dimensions.
My preference at the moment is sculpting in alabaster. The stone works well with hand
tools. The involvement with the medium is immediate and protracted enough to form a
relationship to the piece.
When it comes to flat art, pastels and printmaking are my preferences. The sculptural
quality of pastels allow me to work the piece from a multi-dimensional perspective even
though on the surface of it the paper is flat.
My wood sculpture is influenced by Henry Moore, my bronzes are compared to early
Bragg, but my alabaster is more reminiscent of Noguchi.
Somewhat anomalous to all of this is my lifetime touch and go fascination with
assemblage and found-object sculpture. Some of these are truly weird. Stool with
Rubberbands and Hand could probably be used as evidence at a sanity hearing was it not
labeled as art. Rusty Box and Wire I, II and III capture something terribly elegant and
subtle. To me they are not unlike Tibetan Prayer Wheels. These are to be played as musical
devices in addition to any visual merit.
A common thread that weaves through my art is an appreciation of visual stimulation of
I dont have any faith or reliance on the aesthetics of humans. If my motivation
for the creation of art was to service the art appreciation of the local bipeds, I
dont think I could fight the weight of apathy. My artistic efforts typically stem
from a mood of compassion and adoration of the piece that lies veiled in the undeveloped
form. Liberating these inherent forms is enough onto itself.
If someone steps forward to caretake and maintain these works once they are complete
so much the better. One less child for me to keep track of.
On many an occasion startling horror lingers on the edge of the confrontable. I think
this is often the case when one breaks into higher aesthetics. My way of dealing with this
typically relies on a balancing dash of humor and two reminders from long time friends
This too shall pass and You cant change what is, but you can learn
to like it.