Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sculpture and Relief

Jennifer said, "All sculpture surely is about how light affects a surface of different bevels and planes? That's true in theory for any visual perception of viewer and artist alike.........

Here's what I believe: It is the artist's JOB, especially if attempting a realistic relief portrait, to be aware of how you shape every surface so that the play of light does exactly what you want it to do: Enhance the story you are try to tell.

This relief doesn't show any awareness of that. The background is the standard issue lightly textured (faux leather) panel used in the foundry business for grave markers and monuments. Because the artist went with a predtermined flat panel, they lost the opportunity to shape the background higher or lower to create pools of shadow or highlights around the figure.

(Oh I forgot, there's NO figure to worry about!)

Also by using that textured background, unaltered, there is no unity of surface. Fake leather meets fake skin meets fake hair. Chunk, chunk chunk. Good art reveals itself in how skillfully the transitions are handled, how your eyes are guided throughout the work.

These transitions are as subtle as a slammed door.


Theresa Cheek said...

The sculpture is very disjointed from the background. I see no explanation as to why they are emerging from a leather wall! Thanks for carrying this discussion further.

Jennifer Tetlow said...

I absolutely concur - how the eye and soul are desparate to be plunged in and around exquisite depths made by the lightest, most subtle touch and thickest shadow, oh to be so pleasured. When critique complete, can I ask you to direct us to a piece which you feel does all that you describe, well.

Thanks too for the explanation regarding the texture of the background - I had no idea that this was 'default' setting, and not chosen. Very interesting.

Patrick Gracewood said...

Jennifer, I'll be discussing next week another relief at the library that does work.
Your language is much better than mine speaking of the pleasures of relief.

Patrick Gracewood said...

Theresa, I love Jeanette Winterson's book Art Objects for her essay on looking at art.