John David Yanke

Artist Statement

I lost everything twice. The second time was easy as there wasn’t much to lose. I know the value of what can be owned, yet am conscious of the eventuality of convenience; things tend to go unnoticed, appear tasteless and transparent and are discarded.

Most of my pieces are made from found mattresses. I strip the coverings off, reuse or sell what I can depending on the condition and use the metal part, mattress springs for my sculptures.

Mattress springs offer a loaded image for the viewer and for me they are a mental and physical contradiction. They are a malleable yet stubborn material. The design is brilliant in that it contains no positive fasteners – material and form work in union to maintain shape – an everlasting test for me to reimagine, reconstruct and reorganize. They are my main medium.

In a way my contorted, reordered mattress spring sculptures depict or symbolize violence anesthetized. They are the beauty of force, order coerced into a kind of splendor, subdued by color ameliorating the brute force of their making. The coil springs within mattress spring units are an organized pattern and I get to alter the rhythm of that pattern relegating it to serve a larger movement. I’m managing the illusion-laden space of a manufactured item.

The shadows produced by the mattress spring sculptures are an elongated and intricate web that extend the reach of the piece itself. Creating paintings of those shadows allows me to invite the viewer to feel potential similar to what I feel when I hear a well-composed piece of music. The paintings reveal themselves in measures. Each element working like an individual instrument, sometimes in unison with other elements and sometimes soloing over the top. The piece as a whole can’t be experienced all at once just as a song lays itself out for our ears over time. It rests in our memories like a painting hangs on a wall waiting to be experienced.

John's Bio

John David Yanke is painter at heart mainly working in three-dimensions, yet continues to explore painting. John designed seats and saddlebags for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles in the 1990s, operated a mural and faux painting business and remodeled homes in the early 2000s. Currently, He teaches upper-level drawing and painting and is an academic counselor for a high school in Arizona. He holds a Master’s degree in guidance counseling from Ottawa University and an MFA from Azusa Pacific University.