Thursday Salute to Originals: Sinuous Wooden Sculptures

Bodies are strong yet easily broken; beautiful but made of gross guts. Mixed-media sculptor Michael Alm illustrates this duality in his lifelike animal sculptures made of carved and shaved wood.

Alm crafts lifelike animal figures from thin strips of wood, often showing their bodies in mid-motion. Each sculpture is true to life, taking direct inspiration from scientific models and taxidermy. Combining scientific illustration with artistic license, Alm constructs detailed models of bone, sinew and fur — a glimpse of both the animal’s beautiful figure and complex anatomy.

As a furniture maker, Alm sources most of the material for each sculpture from the leftover scraps at his day job. “The more I played with this material, the more I realized the amazing number of ways it could be used,” he said in an interview with This is Colossal.

By displaying the animals in motion, viewers can observe the tension and pull in thin, laced woods trips that look almost like muscle fibers ready to spring into action. “The gaps in the veneer accentuate the tension in the form while lightening the visual weight of the creature.”

This Thursday, we’re saluting Michael Alm and his anatomy studies of animal forms. By presenting creatures as beautiful specimens, he allows us to consider the delicate beauty of their bodies in motion. To see how these sculptures are made, check out the artist’s “behind the scenes” YouTube channel.

Sources: Michael Alm, This is Colossal