American Artist James McNabb Exhibiting New Wood City Skylines “URBIS” at the M.A.D. Gallery

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American artist James McNabb has taken his wood skills to the M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland. URBIS is the gallery's new collection of six abstract cityscape sculptures by McNabb.

James McNabb M.A.D. 1Photo Credit: Courtesy of M.A.D.Gallery

“I’m an intense person. Everything I do, I do with all my energy. I’m also cautiously curious and very sensitive,” says the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based artist. “I want to capture my passion within the work, charge the objects with my energy and emotions, so observers can feel my experiences when viewing the work.”

With URBIS, McNabb uses his vast imagination and talent to create abstract fantasy cities that become a visual experience, inviting one to study every detail of his pieces.

James McNabb M.A.D. 2Photo Credit: Courtesy of M.A.D.Gallery

The URBIS collection reveals intricate architectural structures imagined by James, from towering skyscrapers and office buildings to high-rise apartment buildings. Each towering wooden skyscraper is skilfully carved out with a bandsaw and then carefully assembled piece by piece to create impressive urban landscapes.

James McNabb M.A.D. 3Photo Credit: Courtesy of M.A.D.Gallery

In the City Square sculpture, McNabb visually transforms a skyline into an urban block by inverting each tower in such a manner that the antennas are practically touching in the center while the outer edges are squared off. The composition compromises 102 unique structures in American Black Walnut. This contemporary piece measures 66 x 66 x 6 cm.

James McNabb M.A.D. 4Photo Credit: Courtesy of M.A.D.Gallery

ACK CTY WHL bends a modern metropolis into a sophisticated sphere due to the precise placement of each elongated wooden tower. The gentle rondure and simplicity of the perimeter contrast with more than one hundred highly ornate superstructures arranged inside. The negative space creates a glowing sun that adds to the complexity and depth of this architectural wonder. This piece of 91 cm in diameter incorporates a variety of wood types, including cherry, oak, mahogany and maple.

James McNabb M.A.D. 5Photo Credit: Courtesy of M.A.D.Gallery

In a similar design, URB CTY WHL maintains the round construction of ACK CTY WHL though the interior is modern with clean structures crafted from American Black Walnut. The streamlined design of this rolling metropolis eases thoughts and draws on a simpler way of life.

James McNabb M.A.D. 6Photo Credit: Courtesy of M.A.D.Gallery

Disposition is a sculpture balancing a bustling city filled with distinctive architecture at varied elevations. The sleek skyscrapers are composed in American Black Walnut and assembled to create a 46 x 46 x 51 cm modern metropolis. One has a bird’s-eye view into the streets of this city on the edge, and it’s easy to imagine an uphill climb or sliding down – or perhaps just hanging on.

McNabb primarily used a bandsaw to create these works of art. Each one takes 10-12 weeks to complete.

“To me, it’s a very expressive machine, responsive to its user in a very sensitive way,” explains James. “I’m sensitive to how the material behaves with the machine, and how my behaviour impacts the resulting forms. If we (maker, material, machine) can dance together, the results are often beautiful.”

“I like to spend most of my time cutting the wood pieces on the bandsaw. It requires patience and focus as each piece is cut one at a time by me,” he explains. Once all the architectural structures are finished, James assembles each individual component, piece by piece. The entire sculpture is then sanded to an impeccably smooth texture and finished with varnish to enhance the wood grain.

For more on URBIS by James McNabb, visit

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