Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sculpture and the Farwest Show #2

 Once the pattern was completely transferred to the plywood, I began by drilling many holes so I could use my scroll-saw.  I changed bit sizes to match the tightest curves of the pattern. The drill automatically cuts a round hole, cutting that with a scroll saw is much more tedious.

The wonderful thing about creating sculpture under a deadline is how many ways it teaches you to be practical AND efficient.

This was my favorite part, I loved the shadows and the scale of it.
I would have loved to have floated the image inside the frame, but it was too delicate so it was mounted it to another sheet of plywood. Then the really tedious part began, caulking all around the entire pattern. That made painting much easier. 
 Both panels were primed and then a quick coat of dark brown spray paint to give more depth. The wood is only 3/8 of an inch thick, so it needs all the cosmetic help it can get.

Next post the finished panels and the show installation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sculpture and the Farwest Show

This flame design is of a Buddhist, 7th Century bronze finial, selected from a book about the famous Japanese temple Horyuji, the temple of the Exhaulted Law.

I modified the artwork for the two 4 foot x 6 foot panels I created for the Farwest Show. Here's how I did it.

I had the frames designed and fabricated by Al Jolley at Designform Inc. I was initially going to carve AAC blocks and fit them into the frame. A BAD idea as it would be this scultor's nightmare of heavy AND fragile AND dangerous! That and moving the artwork to and from a three day show, with no budget, quickly brought me back to reality. Plywood was the only way to proceed.

 First I glued down a full scale pattern onto luan plywood, above. Easiest glue in my shop is a 10 year old bucket of wall paper paste. It lasts forever and never goes bad or dries up.

Then using my old trusty scroll saw, I cut out the stencil.
I used the stencil and spray paint to transfer the pattern onto the full scale plywood. The notch at the bottom and top is to insure correct registration. I align it onto the center line.
Here's the full scale design on 3/8th plywood ready for cutting. More in the next post.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seeing Sculpture Everywhere

I'm working on two large sculpture panels for the Farwest Show.

I was letting the work stew until it built enough pressure to get me past my fear of beginning and fear of failing............................................................................................ Does that sound familiar?  

I was looking at two of my favorite blogs, Paradise Express and Rose Notes. Each artist was writing about their focus, Gardens and Roses, but what I saw on each blog was sculpture. Sculpture at opposite ends of the scale, architectural and intimate, palm sized.

What struck me was how invisible sculpture can be, even as it fills our daily lives. When sculpture becomes architectural, it's often too big to register as art because it's part of a building. Too small, and sculpture becomes easy to dismiss as kitsch, a toy, a keepsake. 

And yet artists, craftsmen, put their skills into making these different kinds of sculpture. It's up to us to actually SEE them. See them for themselves as objects but also to understand how these objects act as signifiers, pointing to other ideas.

Paradise Express offers a tour of Paris in August featuring these architectural scale balcony dividers, inspired by the sculpture of Michaelangelo. Goofy, 19th or early 20th Century follies, repeated they become a chorus line strip tease.... yet they remind us of a time when everyone knew the works of Michaelangelo. How many people today would get the reference?

Micro in scale is this tiny slipcast Buddha from Rose Notes. Carolyn Parker often includes poetry or a quote to accompany her photography. I loved this one
Your work is to discover your world– and then with all your heart give yourself to it.
~ Buddha

It wasn't even the focus of her main photo, yet she directed our eyes to this symbol of patience, and being. I'll bet you most folks would say they don't own any Sculpture with a capital S, but that they do own tiny works like this one. Sculpture that they love and find meaningful with out ever calling it art. 

Seeing sculpture everywhere. What "invisible" sculpture is in your life?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sculpture and Wafica

African art inspired Picasso and others at the dawn of the 20th Century.
It still inspires.

Take a visit to Wafrica,  the website of Serge Mouangue. Mouangue combines the textile patterns of his native Africa with those of Japan. The results are beautiful. (Notice both the sculptures used as props AND the makeup which also combines African and Japanese aesthetics.

Then take a visit to google images to see an overview of Mouange's work.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sculpture and Maiden Foundry

Maiden Foundry was commissioned to create 4 over sized umbrellas for Providence Hospital in Portland, Oregon. They tried the high tec route only to discover that making their own maquettes was (once again) far more economical.

Read about the process on Pacific Northwest Sculptor's site

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sculpture and Ellen LeBow

Ellen LeBow is showing new work at Rice Polak in Provincetown, MA, August 13th - August 26th.

The good news is I'll be back east in time to see it! I've written about her work here

The detail in her work is amazing. Click on either image to enlarge.

Here's what Rice Polak says about her new work: "Her latest body of work is a series black and white drawings executed in ink on clayboard. In this medium, the artist paints on special white board in ink and then scratches the drawing through the black, inked areas. LeBow’s recent imagery, is a radical departure from the Haitian focus of her past work. LeBow’s new, elongated panels attempt to depict the ecstatic, indiscriminate onslaught of life on time. Each one features the decent of a tumbling, cosmic cloud packed with characters “cannibalized,” she says, from personal and artistic influences. LeBow weaves a compressed assault of “divine messengers” that collapse time and space, threatening to at once overpower and exalt the earth-bound life below. As always, the results are stunning in their power and beauty of line. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sculpture and Ruth Moilliet

Half of the fun of blogging is discovering other artists, and then discovering the artists those artists are looking at. Stone Art blog's  Sunny Wieler, had a post on British artist Ruth Moilliet's botanically inspired sculpture.

Most of the art about flowers is by painters, in thrall to color. Sculptors see beyond color to see the beautiful forms and shapes of plants.

Ruth wrote me and said "I love studying nature and plant forms for my work.  Just moved onto studying pollination and co habitation as we seem to be loosing our bees in the UK at the moment thanks to the lack of wildflowers so always good to draw attention to issues."

Ruth Moilliet sculpture is so engaging because it has a child's sense of perspective and magic and a master's sense of proportion and craft. To view her website, click here

She sent this photo of her recent work called Pollination Sphere

All photos below are from Ms. Moilliet's website and used with the artist's permission.

Wildflowers Stainless steel, acrylic 30cm-2m

Passiflora, Stainless steel, 1.5m diameter

I'd have a hard time choosing between these next two sculptures.... Which of her work do you like?
Cardoon Parachutes, Stainless steel  w2m H1/5m

Eryngium , stainless steel, 1.5m diameter

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sculpture and Eckhard Völcker

This is NOT a pebble mosaic.
Though it may inspire you to create one.

I found this on Botany Photo of the Day. 
They look like they're from outer space, but they come from the world of micro photography

This is a 10x magnification of a cross-sectioned pedicel of a rose.  A microtome machine cuts very thin slices which are mounted on microscope slides and stained with a different dyes. Different tissues react to different dyes to produce these clearly defined micro-photographs.

The scientist/artist is Eckhard Völcker of Berlin. His website is Die Wunderkanone. The images, while scientific, are also very beautiful. Mandalas of living cells.  Go see them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sculpture and Paper Cuts

In the bright summer light, the shadow is as real as my paper cut artwork.

But when I saw this new black stencil graffitti a few blocks from the house, I looked for the little girl and her balloons. All that was left was her shadow.......

I hate grafitti's ugly tagging, but I do love a good, clever stencil....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sculpture and Nelson Lau

Nelson Lau is an Australian based photographer. His website, Looking Glass Photography, has great  photos of the 5th annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition at Cottesloe Beach,  Perth, in western Australia.

Be sure to see the sculpture of the giant watch  "lost" in the sand. Lau's  delightful photos of the sculpture are all the more amazing when you realize he's shooting in midday brilliant sunlight. To see more of Nelson Lau's photography click here.

(I'd show you more but was unable to transfer them. Above photo by Nelson Lau, used with the artist's permission.)

The sculptors and artwork are all unattributed, unfortunately, but some research on Sculpture By The Sea's website should remedy that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sculpture and Jeanette Winterson

I've praised Jeanette Winterson's book "Art Objects".

If you haven't read it, please do. It's marvelous thinking and writing. She'll reintroduce you to other brilliant writers like Gertrude Stein and Virginia Wolf.

Since it seems I'm in a manifesto mood, here's another brilliant essay by Jeanette Winterson.    
It's one to mail to a friend, or better yet, read out loud to yourself. 

"The most satisfying thing a human being can do – and the sexiest – is to make something.

Life is about relationship – to each other – and to the material world. Making something is a relationship.

The verb is the clue. We make love, we make babies, we make dinner, we make sense, we make a difference, we make it up, we make it new….

True, we sometimes make a mess, but creativity never was a factory finish.
The wrestle with material isn’t about subduing; it is about making a third thing that didn’t exist before. The raw material was there, and you were there, but the relationship that happens between maker and material allows the finished piece to be what it is. And that allows a further relationship to develop between the piece and the viewer or the buyer.

Both relationships are in every way different from mass production or store bought objects that, however useful, are dead on arrival. Anyone who makes something finds its life, whether it’s Michelangelo releasing David from twenty tons of Carrera marble, or potter Jane Cox spinning me a plate using the power of her shoulders, the sureness of her hands, the concentration of her mind.
I have a set of silverware made by an eighteenth century silverworker called Hester Bateman, one of the very few women working in flatware at that time. When I eat with her spoons, I feel the work and the satisfaction that went into making them – the handle and bowl are in equal balance – and I feel a part of time as it really is – not chopped into little bits, but continuous. She made this beautiful thing, it’s still here, and I am here too, writing my books, eating my soup, two women making things across time. I feel connection, respect, delight. And it is just a spoon…

But the thing about craft, about the making of everyday objects that we can have around us, about the making of objects that are beautiful and/or useful, is that our everyday life is enriched.
How it is enriched? To make something is to be both conscious and concentrated – it is a fully alert state, but not one of anxious hyper-arousal. We all know the flow we feel when we are absorbed in what we do. I find that by having a few things around me that have been made by someone’s hand and eye and imagination working together, I am prevented from passing through my daily life in a kind of blur. I have to notice what is in front of me – the table, the vase, the hand-blocked curtains, the thumb prints in the sculpture, the lettering block. I have some lamps made by Marianna Kennedy, and what I switch on is not a bulb on a stem; it is her sense of light.

So I am in relationship to the object and in relationship to the maker. This allows me to escape from the anonymity and clutter of the way we live now. Instead of surrounding myself with lots of things I hardly notice, I have a few things that also seem to notice me. No doubt this is a fantasy – but…

The life of objects is a strange one.
A maker creates something like a fossil record. She or he is imprinted in the piece. We know that energy is never lost, only that it changes its form, and it seems to me that the maker shape-shifts her/himself into the object. That is why it remains a living thing.
Of course it is possible to design an object that will be made by others – but that is an extension of the creative relationship, not its antithesis. It is the ceaseless reproduction of meaningless objects that kills creativity for all of us, as producers and consumers.
But are producers and consumers who we want to be?

To make is to do. It is an active verb. Creativity is present in every child ever born. Kids love making things. There are different doses and dilutions of creativity, and the force is much stronger in some than in others – but it is there for all of us, and should never have been separated off from life into art.
I would like to live in a creative continuum that runs from the child’s drawing on the fridge to Lucien Freud, from the coffee cups made by a young ceramicist to Grayson Perry’s pots.
We don’t need to agonise over the boundaries between ‘art’ and ‘craft’, any more than we should be separating art and life. The boundary is between the creative exuberance of being human, and the monotony of an existence dependent on mass production – objects, food, values, aspirations.
Making is personal. Making is shared. Making is a celebration of who we are."

Jeanette Winterson