Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sculpture and Siting Art - Saint Gaudens Studio #1

The biggest challenge to siting art is to STOP thinking of sculpture as an object.
That object is part of a larger environment.
If you want people to SEE your art, you start with how they perceive the space around it.

It doesn't matter what kind of art, there's always a series of relationships.
That relationship of art to the site and the site with the viewer determines how the art is received and remembered. There is a strong quality to a well sited work of art.

Let's look at sculpture by Saint Gaudens sited at his home and studio in Cornish, New Hampshire.
This intimate courtyard shows small relief and portrait sculptures along the walls.
Saint Gaudens' Amor Caritas is mounted on the studio wall and mirrored in the reflecting pool.
On either end of the pool, the gold of the large relief is repeated on the gilded bronze turtles.
You can view each work of art individually AND immediately understand how each sculpture contributes to the whole. The garden is very simple, and supports the experience of seeing his work.
Studying the turtles brings your attention to the resident frogs, lower left in photo below. 
Art, the bronze turtles, and living nature, the frogs and water lilies, are equal parts of a unified whole. 


Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

What a good point you make, Patrick. And your pictures really illustrate's so easy to get caught up in seeing the 'sculpture' alone and not the environment. Instead of looking at the surrounding area as the frame in which the art sits, but an integral part of a whole artwork.

Delphine said...

how beautiful ! and the frog seems to agree with me.

Patrick Gracewood said...

The frog thinks her world is beautiful and perfect. It's all she ever known.
We think this garden is beautiful and perfect because we know otherwise.

Patrick Gracewood said...

You know it's hard enough to just make the damn sculpture!

But once made, you've got to put on a different hat because siting art is all about framing. How do you want people to see/understand your art? Context reinforces content.