Friday, April 29, 2011

Sculpture and Dance

Is it surprising that sculptors love movement?
I'll be part of Now Repeat in Steinese  this weekend at Performance Works Northwest 

Now Repeat in Steinese uses one of Stein’s most unstageable works  "White Wines" written in 1913. It has no plot, no characters, no setting – and no meaning other than the experience of her art and how to interpret it. Carolyn and I worked with the line "Build a best container with no speed."to shape our dance.

Under performance artist Drew Pisarra’s guidance, this concept was initially executed in New York in 2010 where it was hailed as an “entertaining collation of pure theater” ( and played for a month to sold-out houses.
This production reinvents the idea by having four West Coast theater artists/choreographers/filmmakers interpret the play anew, thereby revealing a completely new set of artistic sensibilities. Pisarra, a fixture in Portland’s dance-theater landscape in the ’90s, returns from NYC to host this one-of-a-kind evening with his longtime collaborator Katherine Gray.

Alembic is an ongoing series of performances curated by guest artists from the worlds of dance, theater, visual and media arts invited to program and produce an event at Performance Works NorthWest.

Drew Pisarra, curator
Katherine Petersen, co-host
The SteinWays, musical collective
Kyle Delamarter and Starr Ahrens, theater artists
TouchMonkey: Carolyn Stuart and Patrick Gracewood, dancers
Austin Newsom, filmmaker

WHEN: April 29 and 30. Friday and Saturday. 8pm.
HOW:Tickets $12-$15 (discounts for Boris & Natasha Fan Club)at the door or at
WHERE: Performance Works NorthWest  (
4625 SE 67th Ave., Portland, OR 97206

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sculpture and Stone

Do you want to be a better sculptor?

Do you want to be a better gardener?

Do you just want to space out for a while?

Work with stone.
 That's right, play with rocks.

Not carving.
Just work with whatever stone you can get your hands on. On vacation at the beach, at the river, the desert? There are rocks everywhere.

There's two ways to approach working with rocks. Working for maximum stability or maximum instability. Both ways teach you important things about weight, mass and composition.

In Japan, they say that the flower arranger composes not just the flower but also himself/herself while working. The finished arrangement also is a way for viewers to compose themselves while viewing.

That is even more true of compositions in stone.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sculpture and Andersen M Studio

No book is safe these days.

Paper cutting is having a resurgence and old books are fair game. What was flat becomes evocative dimensional shadow puppetry in this film noir-ish video from Andersen M Studio.

Andersen M Studio, a creative studio based in London, is a partnership between brother and sister Martin and Line Andersen.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sculpture and Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0

Time at my workbench is more precious than time spent at the computer. I like reality.
Younger artists won't need to make that distinction as the computer becomes their workbench.

Instead of working with their hands and real materials, they'll program the object they want to make and then send the digital file to a company like Additive Workshop to be fabricated, milled or printed in 3D.

Lagoa is a customizable particle physics framework that allows artist control of high friction granular frameworks, imcompressable fluids...

Did you understand any of that?
Just watch this video and you'll understand.
(Warning!  Annoying music accompanies video.)

Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0 - Teaser from Thiago Costa on Vimeo.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sculpture and Tattoos

Unblemished skin is one of the glories of the nude body.

I was looking at my stats page and found that after Paradis Express,

All Things Ruffernarian,

and Art's the Answer,

the fourth referring URL was a site called Tattoo Designs Vault.

This doesn't look good. (Design theft, copyright infringement?)

Especially since I hate tattoos.

I've done thousands of drawings, not one do I want on my body.
When I see an arm covered in tattoos it looks like a fatal bruise.

My best course of action will be: Do nothing. 

I know that any tattoos based on my art will be a blackened mess in 20 years.  A rare case of life lasting longer than "art".

(I do wonder WHAT they were looking at on a sculpture blog? )

What is your take on tattoos? Have you designed or received any?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sculpture and Drawing and Confidence

All artists need encouragement and reassurance.

As artists, we're going to make art because we must.
We must also work at becoming businessmen and women, an entirely different set of skills in order to market and sustain our art making. It isn't easy.

Sometimes I long for the confidence of childhood.

I just found this drawing of owls made by our little one when she was a young 4 years old. It makes me laugh.

No problems with theme, composition, color or line.
Or marketing.
Bang there it is.

"This is for you, Babu."
"Thank you, Baby."

Like I said, we take our encouragement and reassurance where ever we can find it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sculpture and Gothic Ornament

Who knew the Salvation Army's thrift store had real antiques?
Surrounded by cheap and ugly furniture, this hand carved oak gothic cabinet was very out of place.

The wood is oak,  the finish is the original paint, with an interesting chased brass lock. The wood is  solid, no veneer. It's big too, at least 34 inches tall and almost 48 inches across. It's very heavy, and that's without the black and white marble top!

Classic linen-fold pattern

By the time I arrived, a woman had claimed it for her own. Thank God as it saved me from buying it. 
It was a total deal as it was half price day, hers for $100.00! All I had to do was enjoy looking at it. No regrets.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sculpture and Expenses

 I needed 6 gallons of rubber to make the molds for these two carvings.
Nesting birds, carved concrete, 24"x 12" x 6" ©Patrick Gracewood
"Rich Autumn" carved concrete, 24"x 12" x 6" ©Patrick Gracewood

You can see where I ran out of rubber on the right side.
Somehow I confused gallons of rubber with pounds of rubber. It's sold by the pound. The result?  I was mixing and pouring rubber when I realized there wasn't going to be enough.

Stuck halfway. Go forward or retreat?

It was an expensive failure and a lesson in sculpture economics. To finish the project I need an 80 lb kit. That's $462.44 of material that I can't justify right now. So instead of buying more rubber, I'm scrapping the mold, and going to show the prototypes instead of casts.

The mold rubber I use is called Poly 74-45. It's made by Polytek, a company in Pennsylvania. I went online to see if I could get it directly from the manufacturer and save some money instead of buying it through Fiberlay, our local Portland supplier.

Polytek sells an 80 lb kit for $440.00, Fiberlay sells the same for $462.44. Their markup is only $22.00, which includes shipping it across the country! Comparison shopping made me realize what a slim profit margin Fiberlay makes on this product. A little understanding makes me appreciate them much more.

All this goes to show some of the material costs (and emotional costs!) involved in making sculpture. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sculpture and the Islamic Art Galleries at the Met

History's Hands is a great article in the New York Times, 3/20/2011.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is creating a new 14th Century courtyard to frame the Islamic Art Galleries. They brought in a team of Moraccan craftsmen who worked on site creating a 14th-century Islamic fantasia covered with elaborate carvings, mosaics, and ornamental plaster work. 
photo by Ruth Fremson for the NY Times article.

Slide show from the NY Times.

Arranging tiny glazed tiles, face down before bonding them all together.
              To view the NY Times video of the installation click here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sculpture and Costume

photo by Robertt Caplin for the New York Times
Good article on costume design by Sylviane Gold, "What Befits a Legendary Queen?" NY Times 4/3/2011.

It details the process of costume designer Susan Hilferty as she created the clothing for the musical "Wonderland".

After coming up with the initial concept, Hilferty worked with the actress/singer, Karen Mason to ensure that Mason could breath and move easily in the queen's costume.The pleating around her hips is meant to evoke a fanned deck of cards. There are 80 fabric roses on each sleeve, (my favorite part of the dress). More than 18 people worked on her costume to get it just right.
Costume illustration by Susan Hilferty

 Costume development.

The actress/singer Karen Mason in her Queen of Hearts Costume. photo by Michal Daniel

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sculpture and Typography

It really is about conviction, commitment. 
Any art.

A short video by Ronnie Bruce animates a poem by Taylor Mali
(I was editing drafts and think I backdated this, so am re-posting it.)
Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sculpture and Rodin

“Art is only a kind of love. I know quite well that bashful moralists will stop up their ears. But what! I express in a loud voice what all artists think. Desire! Desire! What a formidable stimulant.” Rodin

Long before Picasso's self aggrandizement of artist as Promethian figure, there was Rodin.

A new book by David J. Getsy, Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture reconsiders Rodin's influence, arguing that the sculptor emphasized his hands on process as a means of asserting his own desire's inseparability from his works.

During his lifetime, Auguste Rodin's name became synonymous with modern sculpture-- and sex.

(Shocking! Sound familiar as a marketing device? Rodin may not have invented it, but he owned it for the late 19th Century)

Rodin emphasized the importance of desire and the sexual as the creative fuel of his art, using them to fuel his increasingly daring treatments of the nude. In the minds of many viewers, the dramatic and activated surfaces of his sculptures came to be seen as evidence of not just a sculptor's touch but of a     lover's touch as well.

Looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sculpture and Advertising

It's a set up, but the sell is soft and the pitch is well worth the wait.

Great care is taken with getting and keeping our attention through showing the elaborate and beautiful setup. It keeps us waiting to see what it's all about. I was holding my breath while watching.

So how would you define this work?
Sculpture? Installation? Environment? Musical Instrument?Experience? Advertisement?

Papa Bach would have loved it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sculpture and Art in the Garden

It's not just what you got.
It's how and where and why you put it.

Small sculpture in the flower gardens at the Saint Gaudens Estate 

It being sculpture in the garden.

I'll be talking about sculpture and the garden at the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers meeting tonight.

ANLD April Meeting: Art in the Garden

where: 15800 SW Hall Blvd, Tigard OR 97224
From : Monday, Apr 4, 2011 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Join Patrick Gracewood (Gracewood Studio), sculptor, as he shares his perspective about placing art in the garden to its greatest advantage. In addition to this brief presentation, Patrick and four other artists will share with us their work and creative process. Please join Patrick, Katy McFadden (ceramic figurative artist), Peter Andrusko (artisan stonework), Chris Moench (ceramic prayer wheels), and Keith Yurdana (metal fabrication) for an evening of artistic inspiration.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sculpture and Glass Eyes #2

Doesn't everyone have a box of glass eyes? 

As mentioned in the previous post, here's my small collection of hand blown glass eyes.

Very fine red glass threads are fused onto the whites to imitate blood vessels.

It looks macabre out of context, but in the mannequin head it looks far more lifelike.

You can see how poorly the plastic eyes have aged, they're to the left of the box, yellowed. Not attractive.