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Jay McDougall’s sculptures are produced in the reductive method where material is removed to reveal the form, much like the process used to carve marble. This method is much more challenging and less forgiving than additive sculpture where material is added or fabricated to compose the form. Jay strives to cut away all that is ephemeral to yield only that which is essential.
Wood was selected as the carving material for its intrinsic warmth and life. These qualities serve to enhance the fluidity of many of his pieces while reinforcing the primal essence of others. Jay carefully selects distinctive logs from hardwood trees that have already fallen or been marked for removal near his studio in Ottertail County, Minnesota. All of his pieces are carved from a single block of material. This distinguishes his work from most other wood collectibles in that it involves no glue-ups or joinery. All of the work is carved and does not involve any lathe work, yet another feature that solidly positions McDougall’s pieces in a very select group. All of this contributes to the common occurrence on the part of many who are first introduced to his work of mistaking his material for stone or marble.