b. 1963, New Zealand
Lives in Tāmaki Makaurau
Sculptor David McCracken works primarily in fabricated steel, elevating humble, everyday objects into memorable, large-scale sculptures. Opportunistic, he started sculpting in his early days by carving driftwood, and worked making props for sets, before moving into metals. A job in his youth proved to be foundational for McCracken, working for a craftsman who made all his own tools, where he learnt that discarded material could be turned into something useful, even beautiful.
After years of working with metals, often experimenting at a large scale, McCracken has developed innovative ways of working that influence the forms he makes. He uses techniques such as ‘drop-forging’, where large steel weights are dropped onto sheet aluminium from a crane, and ‘hydro-forming’, a way of stretching steel with hydrostatic pressures. McCracken is interesting in manipulating materials to generate their own form, as opposed to casting, which he views to be a more static process.
For McCracken, the act of making brings forth ideas. Skill and workmanship are bound into his methodologies, and he is interested in the idea that the quality of your work can be a symbol of respect for your fellow person. Flexible belts and mechanical gears have been the subject of his investigation recently. He states, “The physics of mechanical gears have a rigorous mathematical precision, so the surfaces of meshing teeth never lose contact with each other when they're under load. It is something I have come to see as a metaphor for communication, the need being to maintain contact."
David McCracken’s work Diminish and Ascend, 2013 is a permanent fixture in Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens. In 2017 he was selected for the exhibition Not then, not now, not ever in Berlin with artists from 31 countries including Anish Kapoor, Kiki Smith and Miroslaw Balka. He has exhibited at numerous outdoor exhibitions including Headland Sculpture on the Gulf, Shapeshifter and Sculpture in the Gardens. In 2013 he was recipient of the Parsons & Brinckerhoff Award for Excellence in Engineering at Headland Sculpture on the Gulf, and was winner of the Wallace Arts Trust NZ Sculpture Award.
Gow Langsford Gallery has represented David McCracken since 2009.
Download Curriculum Vitae
2020 Exalt in Transmission, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
2016 Plain View, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
2014 Emotionally Unsaturated, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
2012 Portraits of Mass and Transmission, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
2010 New Works, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
2005 Romantic Portraits of Raw Materials, McPherson Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
2001 H202 McPherson Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
2000 Fabrications, McPherson Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand