John Medwedeff has been creating sculpture, site-specific architectural ironwork, and furniture for over twenty-five years. His work is represented in numerous collections, including the Illinois State Museum, SAS Inc, The National Metal Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Recent commissions include a monumental steel sculpture for the city of Knoxville, TN, monumental steel sculptures for two mixed-use developments in downtown Nashville, TN; a steel sculpture for the grounds of the University of North Carolina; a bronze outdoor sculpture for Michigan State University; and custom architectural ironwork projects for residences in Knoxville, Nashville, New York, and Colorado.
Medwedeff has been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts, including WTTW Chicago’s program Arts Across Illinois; the HEPHAISTOS Yearbook (Peter Elgass’ “Metall Design International,” Germany), Direct Metal Sculpture, and The Contemporary Blacksmith (both excellent books by Dona Meilach), and the journals Sculpture, Art & Antiques, Fabricator, American Craft, Metalsmith, and Architectural Digest.
Following a three-year blacksmithing apprenticeship with James Wallace at the National Metal Museum in Memphis, he earned his BFA and MFA degrees in art from SIU Carbondale. As an educator, he has taught workshops at numerous universities, craft schools, and symposia, including Washington University in St. Louis and Penland School for Crafts in North Carolina.
I create monumental sculptures that function as distinctive identifying landmarks for entire communities as well as individuals who often tie their life experiences to these places. My designs for sculpture, expressed in steel, bronze and aluminum, employ industrial processes and heavy equipment to realize. However, my organic aesthetic is in part informed by my early training in the traditions and visual language of blacksmithing, and I am inspired by the waterways, plant life and weather of my familiar and newly discovered landscapes.
Metal heated in the forge and hammered, or cold-formed under tremendous pressure, assumes plasticity that can be manipulated to mimic qualities of growth, movement, and stability. I have developed a visual vocabulary with which I explore through metal the natural world in relation to the body and to art. Several of my pieces are immersive, where the viewer is able to walk through or into the architecture of the sculpture
I visualize my sculptures and many of my functional pieces as narratives of structure. There is often an interesting overlap between disciplines of sculpture and metalsmithing. While each project has a unique set of parameters and purposes, in general, my goal in all of my work is to create objects that inspire the imagination.