When Luke Splinter isn’t working at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota as the lead fabricator, the Mankato resident is busy creating sculptures to share with the community.
“I tend to do full gallery installation,” Splinter said. “These installations are made up of repeated forms laid out following a pattern I have come up with for the space.”
Having studied carpentry and cabinet making at South Central College in Faribault, Splinter worked a few years before returning to school. He earned both a bachelor of fine arts and master of arts in sculpture from Minnesota State University.
“I have always been interested in art,” he said. “It started with drawing, but I didn't start thinking about it seriously until I was looking to change careers, from shingling to almost anything else.”
Splinter said he receives a lot of his inspiration from monuments created by ancient man.
“The large scale and precision are what draw me to sites like this.”
Ritual sites such as Stonehenge and classic churches and temples also find their way into Splinter’s work.
“All of these places were laid out with a logic and a set geometric plan that you can see in almost every example of these structures.”
Having displayed his work at a few shows at the Carnegie Art Center, Splinter has received an Award of Excellence from a Carnegie juried show, along with some honorable mentions in juried shows while he was in school.
“When I first started to draw inspiration from ritual space, I was pretty heavy-handed about it,” he said. “For a show I did, I created my own saint and all of the relics associated with him. Now, I have turned to ritual spaces in a more abstract way using simple forms and material. I have improved my abilities to cast concrete and resin. My eye for patterns and ratios has also greatly improved since I started digging deeper into it.”
One of his most recent installations, “Pathways,” was shown at the 410 Project in downtown Mankato last month, where he decided to push himself and the viewer by “limiting the floor space and just giving them paths to walk rather than the usual open floor plan layouts that galleries usually have.”
“I really like to push the interaction of the viewer with my work,” he said. “I want them to be inside the work, noticing and thinking about the pattern and the forms they are walking through.”
Splinter said his work has become more abstract and subtle over the years.
“The overall ‘meaning’ of the work is less important to me than the interactions,” he said. “I assume people will derive their own meaning without me having to tell them my reasoning for why I created what I did.”