exhibition calendar

about the gallery

Bob Mandala

Wire Tree Sculptures and Wire/Gemstone Pendants

February 11 – March 21, 2014

Artist Statement
My entrance into the art world did not begin with art classes or the love of sculptures. It began when I saw a wire tree in a gallery in Portland, ME, and was captivated by the work. While I was excited about the work, the price tag was off-putting and I wondered to myself (and to my wife), "I wonder if I can do that?" and my journey began.

When I returned home to Williamsburg, I visited one of my favorite art meccas, ACE Hardware, purchased what I thought I needed, brought it all home and immediately started my new project. Well, I immediately realized that my skills needed considerable honing. While a picture of the wire tree was firmly cemented in my mind's eye, communication to my hands seemed to be a bit, well, severely misinterpreted. My first attempt was tragic but my enthusiasm was not dampened.

I visited another well-known art institution, The Internet, and found others who produced varying styles of trees made of wire, some with beads, others with elaborate bases, and still others that had a distinctive Eastern flair. I studied them, but determined that I would have to develop my own style using materials that I would discover along the way. Through many experiments and missteps, I came upon a style much like I use today – simplicity.

The four primary tree designs are Oak, Willow, Aspen, and Windblown.. I primarily use 20 gauge "dead-soft" copper or silver plated wire in shades of gold, silver, bronze, copper, and multi-toned. The bases have evolved from clay and wood to slate and natural stones. I use two methods, wrapping and/or twisting to achieve the trunk and branch affects. The trees are 100% wire; no other materials are used for strength or form. It takes between 40-60 yards of wire per tree, depending on the style and size, and between 8-14 hours of work over a period of two-three days. The trunks are embedded into the base by way of a personally drilled hole into the medium at a depth to provide substantial support, anchored with a metal piece inside the hole and finally cemented to avoid any possible loosening, under normal circumstances.

My pendants are gemstones wrapped with the same wire used on trees. Styles are still evolving, but simplicity is my goal – letting the gemstone quality be the main focus with wire as an accent.

My journey into art has been an exciting experience, not only for the personal accomplishment of actually creating pieces that might be appealing to others, but more importantly, I have made new friends whose work I admire and I have a significantly elevated appreciation for the creative process. Now when I see a painting, a drawing, a photograph, a sculpture, handcrafted jewelry, or other work of art, I better understand the journey that an artist must have taken to get to the place to create. I understand now that the journey is not a quick trip, takes many detours along the way, and is a very valuable part of our culture.


Bob Mandala, Necklace   Bob Mandala, Wire Tree