Monday, February 28, 2011

Sculpture and the American Friends of Italian Monumental Sculpture

All photos © aka Walter Arnold
Sculptor Walter S. Arnold is a busy man.

In addition to his own studio work, Arnold started the American Friends of Italian Monumental Sculpture to help restore the magnificent marble sculptures at Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa, Italy.

The monumental cemetery of Staglieno in Genoa, Italy is the largest outdoor sculpture museum in Europe and houses the finest collection of late 19th and early 20th century Italian marble sculpture.

All photos © aka Walter Arnold

For more information visit the American Friends of Italian Monumental Sculpture website.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sculpture and Shadows on Stone

I'm making changes to Shadows On Stone so we can see the videos complete instead of cropped. Will fix the other things as I figure them out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sculpture and Les Twins

Aside from Degas, most sculpture about dancers is pretty dismal. It's usually a very stiff ballet dancer pointing her foot, trapped in an eternal arabesque.

So instead of showing you bad sculpture, let's watch some dancers really move.

This video isn't about pretty girls in skin tight clothing, this is about the marvelous ways the human body can move and surprise and amaze us.

Les Twins encore. (double click to see entire screen on youtube.)

Did you see them freeze time, defy gravity, bend a gender, move faster than humanly possible? Now can you imagine a different kind of dance sculpture?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sculpture and Anselm Kiefer's "Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow"

Saw the film about Anselm Kiefer's work, "Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow."

It's the most nihilistic film I've ever seen. 

Kiefer's productivity and the scale he works on is amazing.
Some of the images/objects he creates are very beautiful.

But over the course of the film it was painful watching Kiefer melting lead with no respiration protection. In effect, poisoning himself, his staff, and ultimately the world around him. That's one instance among many in the film.

When an interviewer asks him to speak of "beauty" he says "Beauty is a puppet I carry in front of me."

In the final moments of the film, the camera linkers over his enormous aesthetic ruins, a dead landscape. It evokes the war torn landscapes of Iraq and Afgahnistan. I thought, "He's rich. He's famous. The work is selling. But without respect for life, starting with his own, it's pretty meaningless."

I'm curious to know your response to "Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow".

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sculpture and Basalt Benches

What's cooking?
The outdoor cooking class display at the Yard Garden Patio Show. 
 Sponsored by Mutual Materials and installed by JP Stone Contractors,  Peter Andrusko's paired 9 foot tall basalt columns took it over the top with 3 additional feet of flames emerging from them.

They were impressive, but what I lusted for were the stone benches.
This basalt column was as nature left it,except for having the surface planed to a perfect horizontal.
 I want it in my garden, all ???? tons of it.
Rustic or Majestic? This 8 foot bench basalt column and slab bench is both.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sculpture and St Francis

St. Francis by Patrick Gracewood ©2011

The Association of NW Landscape Designer's booth
After all the work involved creating the St Francis relief, installation was wonderfully uneventful. Dolly in the steel frame and the art, set the frame in place, put the art on the frame, tighten two bolts.  

Done.  (Done, at least for three days when it all comes down.)

It turned out just as I envisioned it. The finished St Francis relief looks like an architectural fragment from the middle ages, sited in a lovely garden. Let's hope he finds his way into a real garden after this three day fantasy show.

The Association of Northwest Landscape Designer's booth really punched the colors to stand against the vast expanse of grey floors and black ceilings of the Oregon Convention Center.

Kathryn Leech of River City Gardens and fellow ANLD members, Deb Rossi and Megan Galaher, selected and arranged plants with colored and textured foliage that contrasted nicely with the painted walls. I liked the bright green striped phormiums, and yellow twig dogwood. An espaliered camellia's leaves repeated the leaves of the relief carving. The green and bronze leaves of Melianthus major are seen below the sculpture

St Francis by Patrick Gracewood ©2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sculpture and St. Francis

The rubber mold used for casting the sculpture.
I've been busy getting this carving ready for the Yard, Garden, Patio Show Feb 18-22 at the Oregon Convention Center. My sculpture will be featured in the Association of Northwest Landscape Designer's booth.

You soon learn in sculpture (and hopefully in life?) that you can't do everything well.
In fact life gets much easier the sooner you can job things out. Specialists don't have that steep learning/remembering curve because they do that specific work daily. They make your work and you look good.

Brian Hering at Design Form made a custom shaped box-mother that allows the cast to be turned over and demolded in one step. It's brilliantly simple because it saves so much effort.

For the welded support stand I went to Howser Steel. Many thanks to metalsmith Larry Kitchens who helped design it and then fabricated the steel  frame.
Cast stone is a fancy name for concrete.
Concrete is grey.
A really dead grey.

So we begin the acid test. Literally. I used Dura-Stain concrete chemical acid stain. It comes in 9 different colors, I used Oak (tan) and Western Brown (a medium chocolate) brown. It gives a nicely mottled surface. (That means I'm still learning how to control it.)

The finished artwork installed in the next post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sculpture and St Francis Moldmaking 2

See the dark holes? Each and every one must be sealed.

The mold rubber will seep into any tiny gap, so the entire surface is inspected. Any gap between the blocks is sealed with plasticine. That saves wasted (and very expensive rubber) and makes a stronger  mold.

Here's the sculpture after all the holes have been filled.
A thick coat of shellac fills any holes I missed and seals and prepares the surface for mold making.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sculpture and St Francis -Molding Making 1

"Every sculptor begins as a god and ends as a slave." Michaelangelo

Well, perhaps not a slave, certainly a housekeeper. Every inch of sculpture must be overseen before making the mold. First the design is finalized. Shown here with the new corrections in white.
 Because the Autoclaved Areated Concrete is full of holes, the entire surface of the sculpture must be sealed. I use diluted drywall compound. Water is added, the mix is stirred until I get a heavy cream consistancy.

First coat of slurry goes on.

 The trick is to work the slurry into the holes and fill them without building up brush marks or adding too much material

Face after two applications of slurry. Plenty of texture and no holes.
More in the next post.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sculpture and Corinthian Capitals

Remember this?
Corinthian capitals badly damaged by fire. Restoration begins.
 Well it looks like this now.
Corinthian capital restored and installed on the Day Building.
The Corinthian Capitals restored by Design Form are reinstalled on the Day Building.

Built in 1907, on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, and part of the City of Portland's Historic Alphabet District, the Day Building was badly damaged by fire in June of 2010. Renovation began in September and completed this January.

General Contractor was Bremik Construction, Stacy Ramakers was Project Manager.
Ecola Architects and owner Jane Glazer held an open house to celebrate. Lots of folks turned out. What made it interesting was that everyone at the reception had a different relationship with the Day Building. Special guests of honor were the Portland firemen who put the fire out. A fire engine pulled up promptly at 4pm so the crew could tour the restored building.

The Day Building reopens.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sculpture and The Secret Life of Drawings

Looking at good drawings is like attending a rehearsal of a play or dance. Looking at master drawings you can see how they are thinking and often 'see' them making choices.

Drawing is the foundation of good sculpture. Drawing, making many, many drawings is how I think through every aspect of a work, from its physical structure to it's emotional content.

I remember the first time I saw an real DaVinci drawing. Only knowing his work from books, it was a weird mix of feelings confronting an original. Disappointment, that it was so tiny, and drawn of both sides! Then anger at the King of England for putting his seals all over it, bigger and darker than the artwork. Finally,  a rushing sense of wonder and tenderness that DaVinci had actually touched this tiny piece of paper, and that this fragile, delicate thing had outlasted entire kingdoms and nations.

The Getty Center has a show of old master drawings called, The Secret Life of Drawings. It is at the Getty Center through Feb 13, 2011. This video shows conservation methods for works on paper.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sculpture and Florian Pucher

These rugs are are a humorous distillation of farmland as seen by Florian Pucher.  Called Landcarpet they reflect the farming practices in different parts of the world.

While they have slight depth changes between the different fields of color, I'm calling them sculptural because they play with how we perceive and move through space. Your feet may be on the ground, but seeing the landcarpet from this perspective means your head is in the clouds. You can cross miles of landscape in a few steps.
Landcarpet Europe

Landcarpet Netherlands shows the flower fields of Holland.

Landcarpet USA

Lancarpet Africa
My favorite is the African landcarpet. What's your's?
More information on his website

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sculpture and Liu Bolin

Sunny Weiler has a very interesting post on his Stone Art Blog,  on Chinese artist Liu Bolin.

Bolin hides himself in plain sight, invisible, as protest against the actions of the Chinese Government, who shut down his art studio in 2005 and persecutes artist for holding unorthodox views.

It's so easy to forget how fortunate we are to be able to pursue our art. Read all about this artist literally putting his body on the line on Stone Art Blog.
Liu Bolin "Hiding in the City"

Liu Bolin invisible at Teatro Scalla