Stephen Wozniak
Ora et Labora Asteragon
OSB, enamel paint, acrylic paint, urethane, solid polished brass
6” H x6” W x 5” D

Some pieces from my Asteragon sculptural series, such as Ora et Labora Asteragon, are about attention and rebirth. The series title is a combination of the words “asterisk” and “octagon.” The wall and seated pieces are a kind of denotation (eight-pointed asterisk) and stop sign (when seen head-on) at once. They ask us to stop and pay attention to the spare symbolism presented and the phenomenon of engaging or grasping with the work. Ora et Labora Ateragon is composed of two stacked, overlapping asterisks, which when viewed directly overhead, add up to octagons – geometric shapes commonly seen in art and architecture as a reconciliation between the heavens (circle) and Earth (square). The white asteragon below is like an ashen specter – the death of a past state of being. The yellow and blue asteragon “phoenix” above, alive and accessible, almost tangible and within reach, is ready for flight. Its blue perimeter is made of newly applied seal paint commonly found on the edge of whole OSB sheets in lumberyards. These individual small rectangular pieces have been sealed and healed whole, given another life after they’ve been cut from the mother cloth of the larger full sheets. It’s what I imagine for all those who have lost and fallen. The work loosely alludes to my hope for Ukraine in recent wartime years. Like the Benedictine monks who extol the virtues of contemplative prayer and active work in the Latin phrase “Ora er Labora,” it is my other hope that with our consistent attention and higher beliefs, we can affect transformation in the face of duress.