Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sculpture and Bad Relief

 It's October, so lets call this the severed head and hand school of bad relief. 
This horrid apparition is right outside the children's room of Portland's beautiful Central Library.

The artist wisely chose not to sign this piece.

Are there no critical standards anymore?
It's bad from every angle.
Applying a decapitated head or hand to a flat surface does NOT count as a relief.

People's (both artists and the public) ignorance of the art of relief never fails to astonish me.
Know nothing about relief? Look at any handful of coins.

Relief is as much about drawing as it is about dimension. Relief is about the play of light over a surface composed of different bevels and planes. That's what makes it so exciting.

Not to leave you with a bad work of art, here's one from the master, St Gaudens who does more in 1/2 inch than the above does in 10 clumsy inches.
Detail of marble relief by A. St Gaudens.


Jennifer Tetlow said...

It would be great if you would help'everyone' out of their ignorance and explain just what a relief is, or isn't. It is difficult to understand blind criticism. All sculpture surely is about how light affects a surface of different bevels and planes?

Cindy Michaud said...

spookey...the "softer lines" were a little too soft (in the first). but ditto to Jennifer's comments...we need to educate, so give us more so I can be a well informed critic on the next one I encounter....

Patrick Gracewood said...

Point taken, Jennifer and Cindy. I'll start to explain in my next post.

Alan said...

You made me laugh. Thank you

Theresa Cheek said...

Well, I was gonna do a play on words starting out with "Bah!...yada yada ...(you know....bah relief...bad relief..)But I will leave that for you to explain in your next post! really is bad! Makes me think of Le Passe-Muraille in Paris.