Through both imagery of a grotesque body and through symbolism of industrial materials, my work reveals a visceral connection between a damaged body and a mutilated environment.
This is a result of man’s irresponsible use of material through the construction and deconstruction of our built environment.
Problem: I want people to notice this stressful and unhealthy condition.
Method: I build anthropomorphic sculptural forms using poured concrete, hand built ceramic, industrial steel, and other found materials.
Result: to elicit a human empathetic response and understanding of materiality through sensate corporeal structures that embody stress and angst.
Conclusion / implications: I have developed a physical language with a palette that exposes the grotesque qualities of material.
Luke Armitstead is a sculptor working primarily in ceramics, concrete and metal. Creating work with both design and improvisation, his works contain a sense of urgency and intuitive form; however, they are often created in response to concepts and ideas revolving around the built environment, abstraction, politics, living systems, and the body.
In 2011, Luke received a BFA from SAIC. There he developed a multidisciplinary approach to art making. Working primarily in ceramics, he also developed an interest in architecture, public art, and design. In 2013, Luke continued to develop his skills and interests in ceramics while attending a two-year post baccalaureate program at University of Wisconsin, Madison. In July 2015, Luke started a two-year ceramics residency at Pottery Northwest in Seattle. While there, he started to teach ceramic sculpture classes revolving around design / architecture, faces, and technique. In autumn 2018, Luke started his Masters of Fine Art with the 3D4M sculpture program at the University of Washington.
Luke has been shown in a number of galleries throughout Chicago, New York City, London, Seattle, and the Midwest.
- Amie McNeel and Doug Jeck, Co-Chairs (3D4M)
- Adair Rounthwaite (Art History)
- Mark Zirpel (3D4M)
- Michael Swaine (3D4M)
Read the interview of Luke Armitstead by Robert Yoder.
There are layers of meaning, and construction, and ideas in these works by Luke Armitstead that continue to create more questions for me. The work is solid and unflinching yet it walks with its head lowered as if to not overpower or menace the viewer. I wonder why any sculpture as big as a giraffe should feel the need to humble itself to us and I realize the work of the artist always reveals the artist. Here Luke is making his statement that there is an equality in the world, in the gallery, and in his studio. The construction rebar combined with concrete and clay give us insight to the ways Luke thinks about construction as a metaphor to illustrate the tenuous complexities of his own health. It’s a deeper inner feeling that is messy and bodily and honest and thrifty. I love the delicacy that is contrasted with the solidity of the joints and how many of the works seem to be frozen in mid-step. There is a comfort in this arrangement, one item moves forward as another steps aside, one building will crumble and another will rise.
– Robert Yoder
- Master of Fine Arts, University of Washington, 2020
- Post-Baccalaureate, Ceramics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2014
- Bachelor of Fine Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2011