Monday, November 29, 2010

Sculpture and Science

Yanping Wang,

 Snowflake (16X)

Charles Krebs,

 Crab larva, living specimen (6.68X)

Jocelyn Cheng,

 Bryozoa (20X)

Gregory Rouse,

 Juvenile bivalve mollusc, Lima sp. (10X)
all photos from Nikon's Small World Site

If you look closely at anything, you will be rewarded.

Small World is a treasure trove of science AND beauty, full of inspiration in form or color. These images are some of the winners of this year's photography contest.

Nikon's site, Small World, is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. For over 30 years, Nikon has rewarded the world's best photomicrographers who make critically important scientific contributions to life sciences, bio-research and materials science. More here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sculpture and Arcimboldo

Photo by Roger Tomas
Somehow this sculpture is fitting for Thanksgiving.

Philip Haas made the 15 foot tall painted fiberglass sculpture. But the painting Winter by Arcimboldo is his inspiration, so Arcimboldo gets top billing. It's part of the Arcimboldo show at the National Gallery.

More information here.
Philip Haas
Winter (After Arcimboldo), 2010
pigmented and painted fiberglass
Courtesy of Sonnabend Gallery
Photo by Rob Shelley © 2010 National Gallery of Art, Washington

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sculpture and That's Priceless

Making art and trying to sell it is serious business. A sense of humor helps.

Which brings us to Steve Melcher's blog, That's Priceless.  It's hilarious art fun, viewing that is both snarky and an education. He renames famous and obscure paintings for today's sensibilities.
Here's Thanksgiving's painting

Gabriel Metsu, Dutch
Anna Making Her Famous Cinnamon Apple-Rabbit Muffins

Wasn't IRONY supposed to be dead after 9/11?

Sculpture and Earth Sciences

Some sculpture isn't made by artists and it isn't seen in a gallery.

Instead it's designed by engineers, exhibited in remote places and visited by the harshest critic of them all, Mother Nature.

Somehow this relates to the holiday onslaught and "debris flow".

Double click on film below to see entire screen. Still getting cropping on Blogger.

Watch related videos on Pruned

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sculpture and Cecelia Webber

In Cecelia Webber's art things are not quite what they seem to be.
Look closely.
Look again.
All photos by Cecelia Webber © 2010 used with permission

All photos by Cecelia Webber © 2010 used with permission

All photos by Cecelia Webber © 2010 used with permission

She begins with the human body as sculpture, posed and photographed. Those photographs are then colored and morphed into compelling images in her flower series. The results are both metaphorical and metaphysical.

William Blake would have loved her work.....

This from her website:
"It was really an accident. I shot a nude figure against a black background and thought it looked so much like a petal I just went with it."  And thus started her journey as a professional artist in hopes of dispelling much of the world's view of nudity as either "something erotic or disgusting," as she puts it.

Her work consists of only the naked human body, often her own, photographed in the most peculiar of positions then painstakingly overlaid using Photoshop to form the familiar shapes of petals, stamen and stem. So familiar the shapes are and so acutely formed that at first glance it is hard to tell that you're looking at naked people. Lastly, but always first in our book, she saturates the forms with stunning color. Her work pays great homage to nature: the beauty of the human figure and the shapes and colors that connect all living things.

Cecelia Webber's website, click here

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sculpture and Time

The little monk carving and soap bubbles
These days, I'm not so interested in technique. It's a strong part of making art, but it alone is not art. The bigger questions are far more interesting.

The Nobel Prize in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, asked in class, "Can anyone explain the difference between infinity and eternity?

Student Marc Lanthemann answered, "Infinity is an abslolute, whereas eternity is a temporal relation. Infinity is a general property of having no bounds, whereas eternity is a property of time."
It's nice to know the difference.

I'd say that most artists would love to sell an infinite amount of work, to insure their survival, but artists are far more interested in eternity because art is all about relationships. This moment to that object.

For those lucky (and stubborn) enough to work in the natural materials of stone or wood,  time is ever present at our fingertips. We carve through years or centuries, layer by layer. It is an honor to work with embodied time. We want to do right by such lovely material and quite literally do not want to waste time.

However long my own sculpture work takes me, I want it to capture a moment in time. I'm interested in making sculpture that embodies a stillness that can slow or stop you. A stillness that draws you in to quiet contemplation and makes you aware of everything going on around you. With my wood carvings, you see the object but you are also able to see through the years with each growth ring.

Is infinity or eternity an aspect of your art making?
Still Thoughts by Patrick Gracewood ©2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sculpture and the Ann Hamilton Tower

Some people dream dreams, other people build their dreams. 

All Photographs from Architizer website

Artist Ann Hamilton worked with Jensen Architects to build a one of her dreams in a beautiful setting in rural California. It's a 24 foot diameter  tower as a performance space. Two staircases, one for performers, the other for audience, wind up the tower from a pool of water at the base to the open sky at the top of the tower. 

Wouldn't you love to hear the acoustics? A little Meredith Monk, David Lang or perhaps the Hilliard Ensemble? 

If you love architecture check out the great site Architizer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sculpture and Canstruction

What is sculpture doing in the NY Times food section?
Canstruction pumpkin pie

Raising supplies and money for the hungry.

Canstruction, the annual challenge for architects and engineers to create sculptures with cans of food, runs Nov. 11 - Nov. 22 at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center, in NY's financial district. Free admission with the suggested donation of a can of food. City Harvest will be the beneficiary of an estimated 100,000 cans of food.

A good example of serious play.

To see more canstructions visit the website.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sculpture and Fostering Harmony

You never know who's going to show up for an artist's talk.

Or not show at all....

Me demonstrating carving at the Architectural Heritage Center
Four people attended Wed's talk at the Architectural Heritage Center. The two organizing staff members, one volunteer and one of the sponsors of the show, interior designer Kathia Emery.

I'm glad we did it anyway as it allowed everyone present time to try their hand at carving. Though after all the work of hauling tools, concrete, room and floor protection -lots of cardboard, the experience had me craving Wistlwa Szymborska's poem, Poetry Reading, from her book view with a grain of sand.

To be a boxer, or not to be there
at all. O Muse, where are our teeming crowds?
Twelve people in the room, eight seats to spare-
it’s time to start this cultural affair.
Half came in side because it started raining,
the rest are relatives. O Muse.

The women here would love to rant and rave,
but that’s for boxing. Here they must behave.
Dante’s Inferno is ringside nowadays.
Likewise his Paradise. O Muse.

Oh, not to be a boxer but a poet,
one sentenced to hard shelleying for life,
for lack of muscles forced to show the world
the sonnet that may make the high-school reading lists
with luck. O muse,
O bobtailed angel, Pegasus.

In the first row, a sweet old man’s soft snore:
he dreams his wife’s alive again. What’s more
she’s making him that tart she used to bake.
Aflame, but carefully-don’t burn his cake!--
we start to read. O Muse.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sculpture and Fostering Harmony

The Architetural Heritage Center has a new art exhibit, Fostering Harmony that asks the question, "What happens when the natural world meets the man-made?"  I have two carvings in the show, Nesting Birds and Rich Autumn.

Nesting Birds by Patrick Gracewood © 2010

Rich Autumn by Patrick Gracewood ©2010
The show asks How does architecture and the natural environments successfully coexist? How can they compliment and influence each other?

As part of the Community Conversations, I'll address those questions and will talk about my 30 years as a professional  sculptor  on November 10 at 6pm.  The Architectural Heritage Center is at 701SE Grand Avenue, Portland Or 97214. Phone: 503-231-7264 or

I'll also demonstrate carving architectural ornament using AAC (Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) as my medium.
In his orchard by Patrick Gracewood ©2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sculpture and Tina Sudell

I discovered Tina Sudell's blog, The Garden Design Chronicles. Tina is a garden desinger and garden consultant and outdoor furniture designer. 
The house garden at the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site
 The following is from her post Dream Gardens,  quoted with her permission.

"I have to say that art and sculpture in gardens when well placed is one of my favourite things of all time. 

Why? Why? Why?
I ask myself and it is a question not easily answered. 

Perhaps partly for me while I love art I do not find art galleries necessarily very relaxing places. I am always conscious of the other people, I feel exposed and self conscious especially if I sit and contemplate. 

Besides the places to sit are always floating in space which makes me nervy. In the outdoors I feel much more comfortable. I feel I can sit and look, I feel I can chat to a friend, I feel I can look at the art if I choose or just soak up the atmosphere. I can enjoy the sun, the plants and the smells. There is so much more for the senses to feed on than in a somewhat sterile environment of a gallery.

More often than not I find sculpture soothing. I’m not really sure why this is. I like the interaction the artworks have with the surrounding environment something that you really do not obtain in a gallery. There is no interaction. They are merely objects in space, demanding your full attention. 

Perhaps I like the fact that the outdoors reduces the artwork's demands on you. I feel free to take them in or not. I feel free to eat a sandwich, read a book, close my eyes. None of which I can do in a gallery. A sculpture garden allows me to be human."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sculpture and Sam Lock

Sam Lock is a painter.  His oil on board paintings have such rich surfaces that they evoke all sorts of connections to other forms- old machinery, maps, geological core samples.

Looking at his work makes me question the scale of what I'm seeing. Is it nose to surface close or an aerial view from a mile away? How do you see it?

Sam says this about some his inspiration: "Living in Edinburgh gives you an all-pervading sense of history and awareness that you are merely the latest layer; it is a city of hidden stories that seem to whisper to you and dark corners full of lost information.  It has an identity that is both dark and beautiful, playful and sober, wild and solid; 

the duplicity of the city makes it hard to define, forcing you to live in the margins, the spaces in-between.  

Since leaving Edinburgh, my practice has been a pursuit of a visual language that explores this dichotomy; I have tried to find a tone of voice for my paintings that tells yet conceals, imagery that is both inviting and elusive, physical yet spatial, open and closed, warm yet melancholic."

Click here to see his website

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sculpture and Larry Griswold

I don't think it's stretching the definition of sculptor too much to include performance.

This man built the rigging, spent endless hours playing on it. Like rodeo clowns, in order to be this fast and loose physically, playing with danger, both real and illusionary, he must really know the equipment, and his own instrument, inch by inch, moment by moment.....

It's the last of vaudville.

Larry Griswold, co-inventor of the trampoline, as the world's greatest comedy diver.