I’ll Try & Damage:
A collection of short traditional essays speaking obliquely to a body of damaged surrogate forms.
By: M.C. McKeown
The word essay comes from the French infinitive essayer, which means ‘to try,’ ‘to attempt,’ and ‘a trial.’ The word assay comes from the same origin and means to test the amount of precious metal something contains. This is the basis for what is meant when people say that they want to ‘test your mettle.’
I’ve made a suite of metal objects which are surrogates for some of our experiences of personal states of damage. These blank forms have each been subjected to a different kind of damage; dropped from great heights, burned in a large fire, shot, pissed on, crushed, eaten away by acid, and beaten. Damage represents harm, injury, loss, hurt, and abuse and can be devastating, degrading, wounding, crushing, and is itself changing. These objects are a way to share my observations and interpretations of experiences of personal states of damage through sculpture.
The images of the process of damaging these forms have unexpectedly become their own layer to the two aspects of my practicum project.
Juxtaposed with the metal objects is a traditional collection of short essays which share some of my observations, experiences, and questions through the written word. The essays – about metal, beauty, process, great difficulty, qualities, etc. – are a way to keep trying in a difficult time and to share some of those ever-present little things in life that help me to keep moving forward. I’ve offered them in the accessible format of a small book. I’ll try.