The ENDURING human figure
I always return to the human figure. As a sculptor, the figure remains the definitive form for expression. i’m sure dancers and choreographers will agree the human form offers opportunity for expression found nowhere else. The figure is the foundation where sculpture began, from the classics to reconnaissance and also for me. And that foundation isn’t going away. And, since most of my audience are humans, this subject matter stands a good chance of being meaningful to those who see it.
Because looking into art is more interesting than just looking at it
is from is not
Legend has it that when Michelangelo was asked about how he created the sculpture David, he answered, ”It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”
The essence of traditional sculpture in mediums of stone, bronze, clay, or wax, is defined by the division separating interior from exterior. That boundary defines a volume that we perceive indirectly from looking at the surface.
Prisoners in stone
I love Michelangelo. My personal favorite works of his are less well-known. These are unfinished figures that appear to be struggling to free themselves from the stone. See the prisoners.
Unlike stone or clay, working in steel lets me defy the boundary separating interior from exterior. i can suggest a surface, edge, or silhouette without committing to the entire envelope.
throw the mind a bone
I can suggest a form or volume to the mind of the audience that can change from different points of view. Such changes perceived in real time can suggest motion, AKA, futurism, like Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Or it may simply be a variation in attitude.
The audience can see into the work and through it. The final image is a sum of cues in the art assembled in the mind of the audience with other real world factors such as angle of view, lighting conditions, surroundings, and the mood of the viewer. To me, this is very liberating and makes for a far more interesting experience.
The roots of INSPIRATION - a son of a WELDER studies GESTURE DRAWING
sketch in Steel
Working directly in steel lets me create a sketch in the same way as i might using a pencil or a brush.
Sketch in space
Steel has the strength to ignore gravity and surround volumes and define space in ways clay and stone could never imagine. Negative space within gives room for the life. It is where the spirit lives.
sketch in life
“Make it deliberate!”, my art professor and mentor, Robert E. Graves would say. Bob Graves was obsessed with capturing the life of the moment in a gesture. That was the seed of inspiration, When I wondered how this might be welded in 3D, my personal style of sculpture was born.
“I play classical music with the boring parts left out” - Liberace
A little less boring please
I love sculpture. Sadly, a lot of sculpture is boring. It is so ambiguous as to appear meaningless to most people, or the opposite, where the explanation is articulated in detail as painful as the Star Wars prequels. Worst of all are overtly didactic messages that make you feel like that time you got chewed out by your high school principal, You know, that speech about responsibility. Oh joy,
Just enough to run with it
How about something engaging, with enough clue that we can make out the gist of it without being left guessing or feeling patronized. And hopefully, having sparked some inspiration, let’s leave some room for the audience to get creative and embellish with some ideas to make it their own. Involving multiple senses and the intellect with ample imagery and meaning for some whole brain nutrition, that’s fun to me and what i am trying to do. You decide how I’m doing.
Let’s go exploring
The truth is, I find these ideas interesting and will pursue them with or without an audience. With is even more fun. C’mon, lets’ go.
Its about the life within
Steel life sculpture is less about the figure itself and more about the life and energy of the subject. Anatomical form is a foundation, but not the goal. We should expect more from art than an anatomy lesson. We already know what humans look like, we are humans. Give us an idea or a feeling we can relate to.
the soul that INHABITS the figure
Being more about the attitude and emotion than the body helps to avoid the uncanny valley, AKA the creepiness factor of lifelike-bu-not-quite-right-feeling that plagues plastic and wax figures. I’ll leave that to old Vincent Price flicks. I choose to not go there. Rather, In spite of the jagged and grungy steel forms which could easily appear scary, the subject is not really the body, but the soul.
brush strokes are the painters voice
If Van Gogh had hidden his brush strokes, you would be asking, “Vincent van Who?”
Working directly in steel foregoes translation steps to get to the finished art that traditional sculpture methods typically have. Unlike lost wax casting for example, where many hands are involved in multiple steps and processes between the artist and final art and it might be hard to know if a certain detail is from artist or artisan, in my case, there is no doubt. It’s all me. If you see it, I did it.
Tool marks in the metal are my voice
Whether you think Dylan should have hired Johnny Mathis to sing his songs or stick with his own voice is a question we will always debate. i have tried many methods and prefer working directly in the art myself,. And I like it grungy.
Why I am returning to creating figures in steel, particularly dancers
For those that may not know, my sister, Sharon passed away just a few months ago. During the last years of facing her cancer head on, she wrote a book about her journey titled Terminal Hope. And in it she mentioned a piece of art that I gave her and what it meant to her. Now it means a lot to me. It was a dancer I called Petite Fleur. She affectionately nicknamed it Flo. Sharon wrote,
"My younger brother from Texas was here recently. On this particular visit, he gifted me with Petite Fleur, one of the Metal sculpture pieces in his dancer series. I call her. Flo. And I love her."
I feel the compelling need to do more dancing metal figures. In doing this, I'm working out some new motifs and metal techniques and its taking some time. I am hoping you will be patient, but enjoy it with me once it is complete.