The Seraphim Buoy on Archangel Pond 1994

Bob Karstadt
Bob Karstadt: October 22, 1994 – February 26, 1995
copper, salt, honey, corn oil, glass, cactus, quartz

A copper tripod construction stands on a circular bed of salt. Six ovoid mirrors surround the structure at its base.


A copper tripod construction made of feathers, wire, and other found objects rests on a circular bed of salt in the center of the first room. In an adjoining room, another copper tripod construction stands on a circular bed of salt. Six ovoid mirrors surround the structure at its base. The two constructions, which according to the artist both produce and absorb energy are made of materials traditionally regarded as having power: honey, salt, crystals, oil, and copper.

Instructions accompanying the first copper constructions direct the viewer to put on a headdress hanging on the wall and to remove a wand with a scoop on the end from the base of the structure. The viewer is then instructed to dip into one of three hanging containers and remove salt, honey, or flour and pour it on the growing material — a sweet potato in a container resting on the bed of salt. The headdress includes orbs filled with honey; thus the person wearing it must look through the honey. The copper structure sits in a circle of rock salt, which turns the copper green. Crystals, placed at the center of glass disks, resemble radar dishes.

With a wand from the wall in the second room, the viewer may pick up a bit of oil at the base of the piece and pour it into a funnel. From there, the oil runs slowly along wires, after it drips, a viewer may use a blade of grass, dipped in the oil, to write his or her name. Barely visible marks on the window result from a drawing made of honey.

Artist Statement

The apparatus are configured in an attempt to activate the presence, experience, and evidence of divine benevolent metaphysical energies. In the way a sail catches wind, or a radio tower receives signals. I use materials for their innate spiritual qualities, personal and archetypal symbolic expression that I have recognized through my experience, metaphorical and light refracting natures.

I use common materials and objects in their base forms to accentuate the constant presence of these energies in our daily physical condition.The materials and process are not exclusive, they advocate a process available to everyone.

My paintings are an attempt to activate and represent the waking dream of various angelic energies through the dance of paint.

About the Artist

Bob Karstadt received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He taught for a number of years in Pittsburgh and Kingston, PA and served as adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University and Youngstown State University. He currently teaches art at Squaw Valley Academy.