Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sculpture and a Taiwan Garden

The Lin Family Mansion and Gardens in Taiwan is a beautiful combination of architecture, art and gardens. Each element is so integrated that you can't consider the architecture without the garden. Considering any one element, visually or physically, draws you back to the whole. The entire space is alive

A friend visiting Taiwan posted photos on his blog "Dyer Situations."

Monday, September 28, 2009

More on Spider Silk and Weaving

What I love most about this new amazing textile, other than that it now exists, is how many questions it raises.

What do Golden Orb spiders eat- other than each other?
What does a "Harness" for a spider look like?
How do you coax the spider into wearing it?
Will this help preserve them and the environment, now that they have a "use and value"?
Madagascar is a very poor country and needs all the help it can get to protect it's many amazing creatures.

Where is the video of the weavers and the spider wranglers?
Every possible way I can think of the creation of this fabric raises more questions.

The textile is high Craft by its making, but high Art by the number of questions it raises to think about.
Paul Anater has more images and Golden Orb Spider backstory on his blog Kitchen and Residential Design. There's even a video.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sculpture and Spiders

We're not talking about Louise Bourgeois fabulous sculptures of spiders.

We're talking real spiders, BIG spiders and high art/craft. Photos from the New York TIMES article

Simon Peers, a British textile expert and art historian, and Nicholas Godley, an American Fashion designer, have created beautiful fabric using the silk from Madagascar spiders. It took more than a million spiders and a team of spider handlers to create an 11 foot long brilliantly golden-hued cloth.The spider silk is 8 times stronger than steel and can be 400 YARDS of unbroken thread. It's exquisite.

Read the entire article here:Gossamer Silk from Spiders Spun

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sculpture and Concrete

Men with the right tools can do amazing work in a small amount of time.

James Patrick Jr. and Israel Sanchez of A Cut Above Concrete Cutting made short work of a section of the studio driveway. No tool lust for their big concrete cutting machines, but I did have the hots for their Burke-bar. Israel used it to move big chunks of concrete with ease. (Middle photo) When I have $120 to spend that's my next tool purchase.

They came on time, listened to me, did the job quickly and cleaned up the mess before they left. What more could I ask for?

I'm enjoying the contrast of chaos and order before planting fruit trees where there was pavement.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sculpture and Naked Ladies

I put myself through art school by modeling, and worked with collage drawing, painting, sculpture, anatomy and illustration teachers all over Southern California. I knew early on that a skinny, spotty guy had better be at least "interesting" and came up with poses that weren't the standard - boring- ones. Instead of doing one drawing, I could be 25 drawings.

Years later when a friend confided to me that her gang of "with it" tough painters referred to any art model as the pink antique. I wanted to slug her. It was funny but painful that something that I valued and worked hard for- both the modeling and the figure drawing - was dismissed as passe' by folks who saw no use in studying the figure.

I was reminded of that when I came home from vacation to find my "naked ladies" blooming. Amaryllis is a monotypic genus of plant also known as the Belladonna Lily or naked ladies. Naked because the leaves emerge in early winter and disappear mid summer. In early fall stalks emerge from the dry ground with blooms bubble gum pink. Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of South Africa, particularly the rocky southwest region near the Cape.

I planted them in front of the biggest boulder on the property for the contrast of pink and rock, bloom and dryness, smell and shadow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sculpture and Boulders

They're not marble, they're basalt. From Wyoming. The Missoula Floods filled our part of town with river rocks, some quite large. Most folks just ignore them, others want them gone because they are hard to mow around.

That's where we come in. When given lemons, make lemonade. When given rocks, make a rock garden. Carolyn finds unloved rocks and we move them to our garden. A police car slowly cruised behind us as we pulled the boulder on a small cart the ten blocks home.

Yes, it's odd, suspicious behavior but not illegal. Glad he didn't stop us as I'd have to thought of a religious ritual of penance to justify our actions. The cop probably couldn't understand it's because we love rocks. If some rocks are good, more and bigger rocks is much better!

A side note on religious behaviour: In looking up information on the Missoula Flood I found several sites including one that looked like wikipedia that looked scientific until I read "following the global flood of Noah" and "Modern geology has been largely founded upon the need by naturalists to explain our world independent of supernatural Biblical references such as the global flood."


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sculpture and the Books of Summer

Tim's Used Books is one of my favorite places in Provincetown, MA.,- there's only so much beach and eating I can do. Tim's has an amazing selection of books. I bypass the fiction room entirely and head for the art/architecture/garden room. I've gotten obscure Japanese sculpture catalogs, out of print garden theory books and many other finds at very good prices.

Tim's is a cell phone free zone. Nothing is computerized, there is NO computer. He has the inventory all in his head. Only in the last couple of years has there been an electric cash register.

Good books mean heavy luggage.

This year's books are

The World As Sculpture by James Hall. It's a vivid, highly entertaining guide, illustrated throughout, and traces the changing understanding of sculpture from menial labor, a blue collar trade, to the growing importance of sculpture as art. Essential reading for anyone interested in the arts.

Architectural Ornament - Banishment and Return by Brent Brolin "Architectural Ornament reveals the fascinating interplay of art, society, politics, and commerce from antiquity through modernism. It explains ornament's near demise and recent revival."
-I wanted more examples of ornament from different eras, but enjoyed it's premises: Sculptures rise from menial labor to art, and the concurrent, ongoing battle between popular taste and the avant guard.

Canterbury Cathedral and Its Romanesque Sculpture by Deborah Kahn.
The 11th and 12th century sculpture at Canterbury provides a wider range of sculptural styles than can be found in any English cathedral. Deborah Kahn here traces the development of the Romanesque from its sources in Northern France and its influences from Germany and Italy, and discusses its interaction with indigenous styles. Good photographs.
-Because somehow I cannot have too many books on Romanesque art.

The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder
These essays, first published in 1990, stand as centerpiece of Snyder's work and thought. Future readers will come to see this book as one of the central texts on wilderness and the interaction of nature and culture.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sculpture- Babies and Boulders 2

Today Brandon and Abbey and I the boulder 40 feet to it's new location by the stairs. It looks like it has always been there. Only we know the sweaty truth. That's the final photo with Abbey showing her biceps of steel. Seriously, she is strong. We couldn't have done that rock without her.

Today's baby was Georgia, Abbey's 2 year old.
More contrasts: Georgia jumping up and down on the trampoline holding a red balloon, shouting "Look at me!" as we levered steel pry bars, ran roller pipe, chucked and pushed. Once we got to the compacted gravel it moved quickly. Cheered on my a tiny child.

Way more fun than deskwork.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sculpture- Babies and Boulders

It a boulder.
The neighbor doesn't want it.
I want it too much.
It's part of the curse of being a sculptor. I lust for large heavy objects that are difficult to move. And then I move them.

My friend Brandon came over to help. Mondays through Wednesdays, Daddy Brandon cares for baby Vivian. It made for an interesting morning of contrasts.

Move the boulder a fractional amount,
pause, feed, change or bounce the baby.
Move the boulder another incremental amount.
Move baby out of path of boulder and pry bars....

Baby sleeping, move boulder very quietly.

Low frequency sounds, grunts and conversation are okay.
High frequency sounds of pipes clanging or sudden swearing not okay.
More later.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sculpture and Animism

"Eventually all landscape painters become religious."

I'd say all sculptors, figurative AND abstract, are animists.

Sculptors love both the material and the processes we use to tell our stories. When we work, clay becomes flesh, wood becomes feathers, steel beams balance at precarious angles, forms manifest.

That's why I include animation as sculpture. It's another way of seeing and relating to objects. Stop animation means making thousands of decisions about inanimate objects, changing, re-fabricating, remodeling them. If you enjoyed Jan Svankmajer's Game With Stones, you'll love his take on Alice in Wonderland.

Follow the Youtube link to see the entire film. The caterpillar is amazing. Listen for how he uses sound as distinct objects to tell the story.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sculpture and Making Things

Found this info on Robin Wood's Woodcraft. The following is from his post.

Dr Alan Reece of Pearson Engineering warns that “de-industrialisation” is causing national decay and the loss of skills in physical science. He blames the concentration of political power in the City, amid men who “know little about anything but money and, as we have painfully learned, little about that either.”

Well before the banking crisis, it seemed to me that there is little health in a society where the pinnacles of achievement are seen to be smooth talking, celebrity, gimmicky marketing, formulaic admin and moving money around in imaginary packets. I would go further and say the next layer, service and leisure providers and “caring” professions, while good and essential, are still not enough. Not for everyone: not for a society as a whole.

To feel good about your work, as an individual and a society, to be both emotionally satisfied and economically safe, you have to make stuff. Put things together, improve them, sell them to admiring customers. Ask any caveman rolling his first wheel; ask any small child trotting home from school with an eggbox model. Then ask the same child ten years later how satisfied he or she is with what passes for physical creativity in the modern risk-averse classroom: the desktop-published folder of design and technology, chronicling a project never actually made; the “food-tech” folder with cutout pictures of flans and lists of cooking temperatures, which somehow never led to an actual pizza.
To read the entire article click here

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sculpture and Fractle Relationships

From the book Fractals the patterns of chaos by John Briggs. He phrases the creative dilemma nicely.

"Instead of illustrating nature, the pictures want to work like nature. They should be like life forms, each in its own fractal way reflects the dynamic system of nature as a whole. The wholistic element is an essential feature of the new (old) aesthetic appreciation.

It's why when you see a colored pebble gleaming on a beach among a jumble of othess and take it home, it may not look as lovely on the shelf as it did in the natural chaos where you found it.

Chaos affirms that individual details matter. Artists know that like the sensitivity of a chaotic dynamical system, a change on small part of a painting or poem may destroy or transform the work."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sculpture and "A Game With Stones"

Having just spent a week at the beach looking at beach stones, I loved Jan Svankmajer's "Spiel mit Steinen" or A Game With Stones. Using the simplest of materials, it's funny, a little ominous, an enigmatic delight.

Jan Švankmajer (born 4 September 1934 in Prague) is a Czech surrealist artist. His work spans several media. He is known for his surreal animations and features, which have greatly influenced other artists such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Quay and many others.

This and more of Svankajer's films can be found on DPT's Style Channel on YouTube