Thaddeus Mosley
Texts by Ingrid Schaffner, Sam Gilliam, Brett Littman, Jessica Bell Brown, Ed Roberson, Connie H. Choi, and an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist
Karma, New York, 2020
312 pages, hardcover
7 12 × 9 14 inches

Thaddeus Mosley’s monumental freestanding sculptures are crafted with the felled trees of Pittsburgh’s urban canopy, via the city’s Forestry Division; wood from local sawmills; and reclaimed building materials. With influences ranging from Isamu Noguchi to Constantin Brâncuși—and the Bamum, Dogon, Baoulé, Senufo, Dan, and Mossi works of his personal collection—Mosley’s sculptures mark an inflection point in the history of American abstraction.

“My woods and stones and I generate themes together,” Mosley says. These “sculptural improvisations,” as he calls them, exercise a rhythmic abstraction, informed by the modernist tradition of jazz. Mosley carves with the spontaneity of a jazz composer: each fissure and groove in his hewed compositions represents an almost-audible warble. He frequently sculpts as an ekphrastic response to music.