Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sculpture and Alice Herz Sommer

The real power of the arts, any art, are not for entertainment or amusement. Their real power is to sustain and sanctify life. (There's a reason they are called the Humanities)

The power is not just for the performer alone, but spreads outward to touch anyone willing to be moved.

Alice Herz Sommer is a classical pianist. "Music is god, in difficult times you feel it especially."

This is the trailer for the documentary, Alice Dancing Under the Gallows about 106 year old Holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer.

Update: the filmaker of this video has deleted it from Youtube

"Only when we are so old, only, are we aware of the beauty of life."
I can only answer, "L'chaim."---------

Having watched this 5 or 6 times, what I love is seeing the emotions flicker across the women's faces, often in the silences, starting with the neighbor.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sculpture and Ethan Law

Remember that Da Vinci drawing of the man in the square within the circle?

Here it is made real.

Sculptors and dancers share the same fascination of shaping space. Notice how you become aware of the space dancer and the circle inhabit, both when they are together and when they separate. How do you perceive the entire charged space they generate. (Bonus points if you also are aware of how he slows time for us in certain movement phrases!)

Watch this  wheel number from E and M-P on Vimeo.
The performer is Ethan Law. Roue Cyr Wheel number. The video is a work in process, April 24th 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sculpture and Time

All photos taken in the cemetery in Provincetown, MA
The illusion of technology is that thousand of things can happen all at once. Quickly.
The hardest part of getting any real art work accomplished is slowing way down and doing just one thing.

Creating any art is a slow processes that requires one to be fully present. Present in each choice, each action. You must be with the work as it is, while also holding a clear idea of where it needs to go and what it will eventually look like.

The truth is any craft requires the slowing of time.
If you want your work to last, you must take your time.

I'm usually in a panic because I'm trying to hurry the art and me. I love the phrase "Dying into the work." (It just appeared somehow)  I grudgingly give up my idea of how it should be quickly and easily accomplished for the reality that I have no idea how long it will take. It will take as long as it takes.

What's the energy like in your studio when you're working?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sculpture and Drawing

It isn't pretty when an adult BEGS a four year old.

I was under a deadline for a illustration AND I was also scheduled to care for my little friend all morning long. "Oh, god.......this isn't going to work...."

I gave her crayons and paper and told her i was going to be drawing too, and that until I was done, I could not talk to her.  

How realistic is that? The room got very quiet. Miracles of miracles I finished my job sooner than I thought and could give her my attention.

She showed me her drawings of things she's seen in my office. One drawing was of the relief sculpture, Oasis, from my series "the Nature of Water".

Oasis looks like this:

Her drawing of it looks like this:
My sketch for Oasis looks like this:
She nailed ever important aspect of the sculpture, the rock,  the ripples and the cracked earth border.
It was humbling and more than a little magical to understand how perceptive small folks are.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sculpture and Creating Architectural Ornament

Sometimes a demonstration piece takes on a life of its own. 

Here are these architectural ornament reliefs just out of the kilns. There is a difference of ten degrees of firing temperature between the right and the left. It's a big difference. 

On the left, the glaze breaks over the high points and pools in the low, giving a wide range of color. On the right, the glaze is ultra matt, consistent overall.

Which do you prefer?

Detail of glaze breaking over forms

Detail of right square with matt glaze.


Original fragment from the Architectural Heritage Center. The show was ARCHITECTURE IN BLOOM: BOTANICAL BUILDING ORNAMENTATION

I needed to create sculpture for a demonstration at Hughes Water Gardens and needed something portable, so I decided to re-create the piece above with both right and left sides.

I printed the photograph and created the opposite side in clay. The scale, 15 x15, inches was the largest square possible using my friend's electric kiln.
Here are both right and left completed in plaster with a coat of shellac on the left
Earlier version with the completed clay on left, original image, and all the tools I used.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sculpture and Easels

Do you need good looking inexpensive easels to show your art?
Take them from the children.

It's OK. The kids are done with them.

If you keep your eyes open, you can find well made children's wooden art easels at any family garage sale, Goodwill, etc for $5.00 or less. For table top art displays, you cut them down, for larger easel, you add to them.

For displaying my relief sculpture, I add a front panel of 3/8 inch plywood, slightly larger than the artwork. The ledge for the art can be as deep as you need it. The ledge and supports are glued then screwed from the back.
Detail of ledge. These are working easels, you can see by the wear. Time to repaint.

Half round molding at top.

To finish the look, and to keep the plywood from warping, I add a half round molding at the top. Paint all your new easels a quiet color that looks good with your art. It's an inexpensive way to show your art at it's best.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sculpture and Models

Maquette for large scale sculpture.
Here's the model inspired the collage cards of the previous post. It's designed to be fabricated with CorTen Steel and dichroic glass to evoke the winding Tualatin river. The model's painted cork board stands in for the CorTen's rusted steel and painted foam core substitutes for dichroic glass.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sculpture and Collage

Is it a crime if you steal from yourself?
What if you don't know it?
Or only dimly remember?
Aren't you glad when you realize how smart you were way back then?
 In developing a maquette for another sculpture competition, I realized that I had this same idea THIRTY YEARS ago. In less than 5 minutes I found early color xerox copies of the collage cards I'd made from an Arizona calendar and old surfing magazines. (I'm still amazed at that level of organization.)

The cards are tiny 3 x 3 inch landscape compositions. Torn up images of the desert became coastal islands, complete with white waves (the torn unprinted paper). I'd visited Baja, Mexico and loved its stark beauty. Each card is a composition in itself, but becomes more interesting when placed next to another and another to form little archipelagos.

  It's not a crime. It's a gift!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sculpture (and Life) Mantra

I have a new mantra. It working great for me. It might work for you too.

My friend John Osswald told me that when he was running his own faux finish business, dealing with very wealthy clients, his job (in addition to the painting) was to generate enthusiasm and manage expectations.

Generate Enthusiasm and Manage Expectations.

Enthusiasm is defined as intense and eager enjoyment, interest or approval. Who doesn't want that?

It comes from the Greek enthousiasmos meaning possessed by a god, or divinely inspired. Generating enthusiasm is so positive. It means let your creativity flow and encourage the creativity of others.

The work comes with managing expectations, but what a great place to begin! I've tried to manage impressions and failed miserably. Repeatedly. Somehow I understand it when it is put this way. It relieves so much stress by putting things on the table. It means you get clear about what your expectations are. What you are willing to do or not do?

Manage expectations invites discussion of those very things you're afraid to talk about. Money. The Parameters of the job: How much do they want to be involved or have done for them. What do your clients expect but aren't saying? Managing expectations allows you to just ask questions and listen for answers. Subjectively and Objectively.

Give this mantra a try and let me know how it works for you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sculpture and Mud Architecture in the Arabic World

The previous Masdar posts about the art of architecture with the newest materials were inspired by
some of the oldest settlements in Yemen.  Built with the most basic materials, wet earth. The mud architecture is locally sourced, renewable, provides insulation and is still standing.

Awara Aburawa writes about Mud Architecture and the Arab World.

Photo by Phil Marion

Photo by Phil Marion

Photo by Phil Marion
Narrow streets provide shade.

The city of Shibam in Yemen.
Awara Aburawa writes about Mud Architecture and the Arab World.
Photos found on the websites Environmental Graffiti and Green Prophet.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sculpture and Masdar

Dust storms like this can wreck havoc on photovoltaic equipment.
More news of Masdar. A anonymous reader wrote in with much more information than the New York Times article. Rather than let his/her and links disappear in the comments section, here they are for us all to read and learn more.

Patrick, FYI this reporter is very out of date. Masdar City has effectively been cancelled.

Masdar has announced that despite 3 hard years of trying, they could only find one single client to lease

In a planned development of 6 million m2, that’s a disaster.

Apparently there simply is no demand for this “green city” with zillions of unoccupied office buildings in nearby Dubai.

What now? Obviously it would be very embarrassing to admit failure, so they'll leave the one school building they already built, and wait a few years to see if the property market will recover.

PS. the school’s occupied by some cute and crazy kids (Laura Stupin reports on student housing.)
You can see the empty, desolate empty plot as well.

Other articles which chronicle the fall of Masdar are here:

One commenter pointed out how every single claim of Masdar City has been discarded (zero carbon, zero waste, no cars, etc). There’s even a photo op picture of German leader Merkel filling her car up with gas at the one gas station there in this so-called car-free, zero-carbon city).

Very funny indeed! Meanwhile, they had no problem building a gas-guzzling Formula 1 track and a huge Ferrari race track in only 2 years, while letting Masdar wither.

I guess their real priorities speak for themselves.

When, I wonder, will the green community stop letting itself be played a fool?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sculpture and Masdar

The future is well underway, and it isn't in the expected places. Not in LA, NYC or Tokyo.
It's in Abu Dhabi. 

If sculpture is not just the created object but includes all the relationships of objects, people, and movement through space, the new city of Masdar is sculpture on a very complex scale.

NY Times photo
Nicolai Ouroussoff, architecture critic for the New York Times, reviews the new city of Masdar in Abu Dhabi. 

Billed as "the world's first zero-carbon city", the city uses new materials and old technology.

Architect Norman Foster, of Foster & Partners, studied ancient Arabic cities like Aleppo in Syria and the 16th Century mud-brick apartment towers of Shibam in Yemen to understand how they functioned in scorching (120 degrees and up) desert heat.
Duncan Chard for the New York Times.
He discovered that the ancient architects used hollow towers to draft hot air away from public areas and draw in cooler air. They also kept the streets very narrow and oriented at an angle to the sun's east/west trajectory to maximize shade and accelerate airflow.
Quoting from the article:
"With the help of environmental consultants, Mr. Foster’s team estimated that by combining such approaches, they could make Masdar feel as much as 70 degrees cooler. In so doing, they could more than halve the amount of electricity needed to run the city. Of the power that is used, 90 percent is expected to be solar, and the rest generated by incinerating waste (which produces far less carbon than piling it up in dumps). The city itself will be treated as a kind of continuing experiment, with researchers and engineers regularly analyzing its performance, fine-tuning as they go along.

For a slide show of the new city click here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sculpture and the Olso Opera House

Dutchbaby blog has a long photo filled post on the beautiful Operahuset or Opera House in Olso, Norway. The $800 million building opened in 2008 and was designed by Norwegian architecture firm, Snoehetta.    
photo from  The Doors of Perception. The lead architect is Kjetil Trædal Thorsen a partner in the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta.
The Operahuset is architecture as landscape. From a distance, across the water it resembles an iceberg and encourages viewer engagement by allowing people to walk all over the structure.

What I love is how well it plays with the different qualities of light on both the intimate micro-scale as well as the big picture. To see up close go to Dutchbaby.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sculpture and Jason deCaires Taylor

Of his bones are coral made: Those pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change. Into something rich and strange." ... from Shakespear's the Tempest

I just received new photos of Jason deCaires Taylor's environmental sculpture. After 3 years under the sea in Grenadian waters he latest growth of sponges, tunicates, hydroids, soft and hard corals has been beyond all expectations.
all photos Jason deCaires Taylor

Initially, I had strong reservations about the work. Not his wanting to combine sculpture and environmental work, but the aesthetic of seeing figurative concrete sculptures underwater. 
I couldn't get the image of drowned bodies out of my mind. 
Context is everything.

But now that all the sculptures have suffered their sea changes, becoming mermen and mermaids and living reefs they are beautiful, strange and living instead of dead images. I guess " I've grown accustomed to her face...."

To see more of Jason deCaires Taylor's work click Here.