Monday, October 24, 2011

Sculpture and Relief

Sculptor Jennifer Tetlow and Artist Cindy Michaud took issue with my critique of the last post. They challenged me to educate instead of rant and rave about the art of bas relief.

I took the weekend off to think about my initial reactions to the work and why they were so strong. I'll be discussing relief in the next couple of posts.

Looking at this relief, the first question I ask "Where is her body?" I see a hand holding a book and a head on a flat background. When striving for realism, as treatment of head and hand lead me to believe, it's disturbing to cut the body into separate pieces.

Her severed head reminds me of John the Baptist served up to Salome. Is that the story the artist is telling? Or will she pop through the wall to hand me a book too?

Is it a good idea to hang a patron's head on the wall like a stuffed animal trophy?

Anything goes with post-modernism, but the absence of any attempt to connect head and hand tells me about the artist's thought process. It's easy to model separate parts, what's hard is to put them together and have it work as a whole. This doesn't.

What does this aspect of the work say to you?


Deb said...

I just wish Jabba the Hut would set her free!

Anonymous said...

Poor Ms. Cleary. I'm sure she doesn't want to be remembered as just a head and a hand!

Your post made sense to me. This relief is missing more than just a body: it's missing the soul of the woman it's tried to capture.