Chris Carnabuci started his career in woodworking over 30 years ago as an innovative, furniture-as-art designer/craftsman. In 2012, he began using CNC fabrication to create his pieces. His self-taught method of stacked wood sculpting was exhibited in his first piece for public exhibition, “Fertility”, which exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in April, 2014, and then auctioned at Sotheby’s. The sculpture depicts the goddess Aphrodite emerging from an egg.
The success of “Fertility” gave Carnabuci the impetus to continue with CNC sculpting, and by 2018 he was finishing up a design for what was to become his largest piece to date - “Mariposita”.
“Mariposita” was born of two desires by the artist. One, to reimagine the theme of “Fertility”, and, two, to present a large-scale piece at Burning Man. In 2019, after receiving an honorarium grant from the Burning Man organization, Carnabuci began the mammoth task of cutting the 3000+ pieces of wood that make up the sculpture, a 22’ high piece which depicts a woman escaping the confines of a shell. She represents the strength and beauty of the feminine spirit within all of us, and the courage and determination we have to break away from that which restrains us.
His second public piece, “Mariposita” made its debut at Burning Man 2019. After that, it exhibited in Toronto, and then in Mexico City. During this time, Carnabuci was commissioned by Dreamland in Austin to create a ⅔ scale reproduction of Mariposita, which was installed in August, 2020. Future plans for the original Mariposita include a three month exhibit in Istanbul in the winter of 2022, as well as an installation on 5th Avenue, NYC beginning April, 2022. A Mariposita NFT is currently being developed.
During the pandemic lockdown, Carnabuci was moved by a story that caught the world’s attention - the death of George Floyd. At the request of his wife, Paula, and in an effort to capture this significant moment in time, Carnabuci sculpted a 12’ tall bust of Floyd, which led to two more sculptures - Breonna Taylor and John Lewis. These three pieces make up the SeeInJustice exhibit which was unveiled in October, 2021 at Union Square, NY. The exhibit garnered international attention, bringing to light the inequalities and suffering within our society.
The Floyd sculpture will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in December, 2021. A George Floyd NFT collection affiliated with this sculpture will be dropped during this time. Plans for the Breonna sculpture include an exhibit in February, 2022, in her hometown of Louisville, KY. In March, it will be auctioned at Sotheby’s along with a Breonna Taylor NFT drop.