Earthcaster Profiles North Carolina’s Thomas Sayre
The work of Raleigh artist Thomas Sayre is the product of a creative process that seeks to find a balance between unhealthy or unproductive extremes. In Earthcaster, the documentary profiling Sayre, it is said that his work “changes the landscape but doesn’t take it over.” The process of making large sculptures from the land that become a part of the landscape is one the artist describes as “being in control, but not….”
Those sorts of rhetorical contradictions may alienate a few viewers who like their art overexplained, but they can also resonate with those looking to articulate what is distinctive about an artist’s work that they enjoy but can’t yet speak eloquently about.
A good part of Earthcaster chronicles Sayre in a building project, and seeing how the art is made only makes you appreciate it more. Our own stereotypes of artists alone in a studio, shut away from the natural world, are challenged by Sayre’s process as well as his product. “It’s a very different vibe and myth from the lone artist myth…” he says of working with a team, toiling under the hot sun.
The documentary is the sort of program that makes one glad for public television. By focusing on a local artist, the film not only enhances his reputation but reminds viewers of opportunities to engage the arts that are close to home.
Earthcaster is scheduled to be rebroadcast on WUNC-TV this coming Monday, November 14.