Check out this incredible wave sculpture made out of driftwood (back in 2006), by Californian artist Shane Blackbourn. It measures 40′ wide, 12′ tall, 12′ front-to-back. It’s a modular steel construction with driftwood and wire. Shane spent five months working nearly everyday to complete it! It now resides in a private residence in Palos Verdes, California.
In the same way I use repeated brush strokes in my paintings as a way to re-present representation, I used driftwood as the empty signifier. That is to say that something so culturally loaded as a piece of driftwood is able to lose some or all of it’s cultural significance with a change in context. The driftwood sort of becomes brush strokes in a giant three-dimensional painting that is about other people’s paintings.