Walter Oltmann possesses the singular ability to transform seemingly ordinary and mundane materials into magical sculptural forms. Working with manipulated industrial materials, in particular wire, he produces large-scale sculptural works that often reference minutely scaled insect forms and motifs and patterns associated with local craft traditions. The outcome is always vibrant and poetic. Artist Kathryn Smith has described his transformative process as “artistic alchemy.”
“My primary medium in the sculptures I fabricate is aluminium wire,” explains Walter, “and in recent works I have started to combine woven wire forms with burglar proofing, razor wire and other forms of protective bristle to make forms that suggest larvae and suits of armour.” For his contribution to this project, Walter used stainless steel bird proofing to create a form that, he says, “resembles a caterpillar larva with its threatening spines, but it may also remind one of a fur stole in its apparent softness and curved form.”
“I thought this aspect of potential wearability would link well to the jewellery project,” he adds.
“In choosing to construct a very open and transparent form I wanted to create a sculpture that would appear light yet also threatening, aggressive and enticing at the same time.”