"I play classical music with the boring parts left out"
"I create classic figures with the boring parts left out" - roger belveal
I love sculpture. Sadly, a lot of sculpture is dreadfully boring. Either so abstract as to be utterly meaningless to most people. Or so spelled out in painfully exhausinging detail, that it feels like having every punch line of every joke explained in the telling. Where’s the fun in that? Here’s where a little empathy for the audience is enormously helpful.
Please, please, give us just enough of a clue that we can surmise the rest. The right mix of articulate detail along with some room for our creative imagination to engage and we fellow become collaborators with the artist in the art making. Give us imagery to fuel to our senses and some thoughtfully placed ambiguity with hints and room, lots of room. Now, that’s fun, entertaining and enlightening. A wonderful formula is though easier said than done.
As a sculptor, I always return to the human figure. I’m sure choreographers and dancers agree that the human form offers opportunity for expression found nowhere else. The figure is where my sculpture began. And that foundation isn’t going away.
And since most of my audience are humans, a clearly human subject matter stands a good chance of being meaningful to those who see it.
Steel life sculpture is about less about the figure itself and more about the life and energy of the subject. Anatomical form has foundational relevance, we expect a great deal more from art. Give us an idea, an expression, or impression that we can relate to. We are humans. We aren’t really looking at art for an anatomy lesson.
My love of Michelangelo
The attitude and expression is the objective. Letting the figure not the of the Sketching the motion, emotion, the spirit the life. keeps us away from heavy handed anthropomorphic detail, with the creepiness factor or plastic and wax figures. The wax museum is fine for a tourist attraction, and great subject matter for nightmares., reliable fodder for Vincent Price flicks. I choose to not go there. In spite of the jagged and grungy steel forms, my intended subject is the soul not the corpse.
Steel as a material lets me create a sketch in the same way as i might using a pencil or a brush, in the words of my mentor, Robert E. Graves, being “deliberate” about the gesture, capturing the life of the moment in a sketch like the impressionists aimed to capture a fleeting moment.
Because looking into something is more interesting than just looking at it. Within
Tool marks in the metal are my voice
Working in steel is of course more time consuming than sketching with a pencil, yet, far less drudged out than other processes such a metal casting where multiple phase and poses risk muddying the freshness of artist’s paint strokes. The end result of my work in steel has my own marks and fingerprints and sometimes sweat and blood on it. Unlike bronzes which are transferred from clay and wax to plaster, then to metal, then finally finished by a foundry, One needn’t wonder whether the marks one sees are ehmarks I makde. They are. As surely as the brush strokes in a painting are my own. Like thee voice of a narrator, the brush strokes of an artist are the artists voice. not to be hidden.
If Vincent Van Gogh had hidden his brush strokes, you would be saying, “Vincent van Who?”
Escaping the interior object definition of sculpture
Destroying the tyranny of interior/exterior.
Removing everything that isn’t the figure. While this seems
Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase.
For those that may not know, my sister, Sharon passed away just two 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. 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. Thank you.