About the Piece
A sculpture of a crosslegged Buddha carved of black Jet holding a pearl seated atop a tapered graphite block with a functioning clock measuring 17" tall, 6" wide and 5" deep. This piece was inspired by the block on which the Buddha sits, a recovered piece of unused graphite from the worlds first nuclear reactor known as "The Pile".
The Black Hole sells surplus nuclear research equipment acquired from the Los Alamos National Laboratories to the public even today and can be visited.
Known as "jet", the rich black material used to create this larger than life frog sculpture is a rare form of fossilized wood which formed millions of years ago under extreme pressure during decomposition. It has been favored as a gemstone by jewelry carvers since the Neolithic period, though is most famously known for its use in mourning jewelry during the Victorian age. With a hardness of 2.5-4 on the Mohs scale, specimens like this are considered gemstone quality and are priced as such. Because of its expense and scarcity, rarely do you see pieces of jet this large utilized in sculpture.
About the Artist
After starting out as a silversmith in Arizona and immersing himself in the turquoise trade over 30 years ago, Lee Downey is still just as passionate about gems, minerals and all things geology related today. From his studio in Bali, Lee and a family of highly skilled craftspeople create one-of-a-kind art pieces from natural and reclaimed materials with unwavering attention to detail.