Sebastian Martorana

[Soft Step: Couch, salvaged marble row home step]

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Soft Step: Couch, 2013

Salvaged Beaver Damn marble, former row home step, 8" x 36" x 13"

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From the original publication, 2013: I have been working for some time now with the kind of stone that I have become familiar with and fond of since moving to Baltimore years ago: its white marble stairs.

However, recently I have begun making pieces whose underlying concept speaks specifically to the plight of these iconic marble steps and generally to the loss of the beautiful historical architecture of this city and a part of its cultural identity along with it. You can read much more about these steps and my work with them in Susan Reimer’s article for the Baltimore Sun.

To put it simply, I want to at least attempt to take these neglected, forgotten and often broken pieces of stone and make them into something beautiful again. I want them to look and feel as comfortable as I am when I sit out on my own stoop with my family and neighbors and watch our neighborhood breathe.

This work started with the single piece New Construction and has since morphed into what is becoming a series of pieces I’m calling Soft Steps. In the interest of making these as metaphors for the comforts of home, this first Soft Step is based on the over stuffed cushions of our own family room couch–in which I sit right now as I type . . .

Description of the Series:

In the Soft Step series I am seeking to speak to the importance of home, community, place, and culture. I wish to spotlight the destruction and loss of these things in the course of demolishing the historical and original residences in my city and my own neighborhood. These pieces are made of the castoff and forever scarred stair steps of these once tight-knit row homes. I feel that the marble stoops of these buildings are a symbol of home in a sense that is broader and deeper than just a building. However, the loss of this place that fosters so much interaction and comfort with one’s neighborhood is a metaphor for the disinterest in those things that were once held dear.It is fulfilling to me to at least attempt to make something beautiful and comfortable out of something that has become dirty or ugly or broken or forgotten or cast away. Not every pretty marble sculpture starts out as a pristine block of crisp and sparkling stone. We all sit together in our houses on these pieces of furniture. These stoops are really just the exterior equivalent of that. I want to take these cast off bits of architecture and give them a second act to be appreciated and stand in for comfort in ones home. The first of these pieces was based on our family room couch, the second one was based on our nursery room rocker.

Artworks by Sebastian Martorana

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