February, 2012 Chronogram ... In fact, for Mack, one might say fresh ideas are his stock-in-trade. For all of his possible appellations, perhaps the most accurate is the one he uses: He is a working imaginalist. He has been creating art from natural materials for over 30 years, from grand-scale rustic design to his current work with Hudson River driftwood. “The theme is emerging selves,” Mack explains of his current work, a concept that could well be applied to the living art community he helps to foster
August, 2011 Profile in dirt
“For a full-grown man to be carving these things,” Daniel Mack reflects. “I don’t quite understand. But I don’t have to.”
Mack, a Warwick artist, writer and philosopher, was trying to fulfill his “big boy” duties of procuring unique types of wood for architectural projects like staircases and pillars in 2004. He was in Newburgh, scouring the western shore of the Hudson for quality driftwood. All he was finding was little bits of worthless bark, and it was messing with his zen.
So he took a deep breath and told himself, if you can’t be with the one you love…
Now, there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of hand-height figurines populating the shelves of his studio, all carved from bits of drift bark that are valueless as lumber. Mack calls them “anima” – a Jungian term describing female or late-life energy. Some are voluptuous in personalized wooden frames; some congregate on a stump, leaning in or standing aloof; some are bejeweled and some painted; one wears a crown of a golden twig, another of a dead honeybee.
“The mites are going to eat it,” says Mack, of the bee. “That’s the fragility. People are so interested in avoiding the decay of living. This almost celebrates it.”
November, 2010 Riva Weinstein reviews the Repetition as Meditation show at Vastu
Uploading some pics of this lovely and intimate show Dan Mack curated. He'd like to continue developing the project, with new work, new venues, etc. I'm so proud to be a part of it. Now on view at Vastu in Warwick, NY. The light was low in the sky making for a beautiful drive, but not great photography. So showing just the best of what I was able to capture. Unfortunately I couldn't get a good shot of my own work, but you can see one of my pieces here on etsy.
September, 2010 Valerie Goodman Gallery Blog
Read more about his work, writing and teaching and visit his studio in Warwick, NY http://www.danielmack.com/
August, 2010 Riva Weinstein reviews the 2010 Woodlanders Gathering
August, 2008 Upstate House
Almost three decades ago, Daniel Mack abandoned the daily grind of a career as a television journalist and, throwing caution to the winds, made a gigantic leap of faith into the world of rustic furniture making. Initially drawn by the grounded aura of working with natural materials and the appeal of working for himself, he has become something of an evangelist for the spiritual delights to be found in sorting through a chaotic jumble of locally harvested (or, more accurately, salvaged) cedar and maple sticks, and bringing them into order as recognizable pieces of furniture.
The process of finding the proper place for each unique piece of wood is, for Mack, more of a question of collaboration than coercion; he loves the mysterious, Jungian symbolic dimension that arises from the preservation of the wood's natural forms, forms that are brought into heightened focus through their judicious manipulation into the manmade architectonics of furniture. More recently, he's captured this spirit in a series of small desktop sculptures he likes to call "imaginal objects."
Charismatic and articulate (he's written four books on rustic furniture), Mack alternates between making his own witty, sophisticated, and, yes, still rustic furniture, and outreach, teaching Zen-like workshops on rustic furniture making at Omega and organizing Woodlander Gatherings—sort of a Burning Man–style get-together for folks who work with natural materials.
A far cry from the primitive kitsch of roadside chainsaw sculptures, Mack's stylish custom chairs, tables, beds, and architectural treatments (staircases, columns, beams, and so on) unabashedly pursue the primal gasp inspired by a specific kind of beauty—beauty that draws deeply from the well of nature, thoughtfully balanced with the mundane utilitarian needs of mankind. The end result opens a new window onto a reintegrated world, offering a unique, aesthetically engaged path that mindfully reunites us with the natural world that we've always been a part of after all.
October, 1986, excerpt from House and Garden