Monday, April 30, 2012

Sculpture and Faux Bronze #1

I was going to call this post Faux Fantasy, but that sounds like a transvestite strip club. 

That would be more exciting.

This is about making concrete look like bronze. But like that fantasy strip club, it's all about putting on a lot of paint for a good show.  It's not for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to go over the top garish to have it work.

It really is theater.
Bouquet for the City by Patrick Gracewood © 2012

Bouquet for the City by Patrick Gracewood ©2000
Here's how my relief sculpture, Bouquet for the City, looked in 2000. It was featured in Lake Oswego's outdoor sculpture exhibition, Gallery Without Walls.

I couldn't afford bronze and was exploring cast concrete as a medium for public / outdoor art. I loved the glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC). It's very strong, the walls are an inch and a half thick, not a solid block, so that means it's a reasonable weight for sculpture.

I struggled with how to color it. I never liked the yellow cast of the concrete, but it was what the factory was using that day. It was free.  Can't complain. Concrete stains turned out to be an acrylic product that faded over time. I never reconciled that yellow with the pink.

Worse,  I fell into literalism. Pink flowers, green leaves. Why did I work so hard creating a composition about texture and patterns and space if it was going to be steamrollered with one for one coloring? I faded the green into the background. It just looked dirty.

Having this problematic relief installed right by my studio front door meant CHANGE was necessary.
This week's posts show how I "turned" it into bronze...with just a little "fantasy."

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