Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Rising Universe Sculpture

Also known as the Shelley Fountain, the "Rising Universe" sculpture isn't for the faint of heart. It's a towering mass of energy in the form of a spherical globe. I guess you could say that this sculpture could also be labeled as a form of kinetic art because of its interesting mechanical nature. The sphere is built to condense with more than 6 tons of pumped water from the artwork's base. Once the quota has been filled, the once-descending spherical mass then jets upward, pouring all the stored-up water out from below it. The fountain sculpture was made in 1992 to make way for the bicentenary of the birth of Percy Bysshe Shelley, a famous poet. The structure is located at Horsham, West Sussex, England for all to see and appreciate.



The artwork was made by Angela Conner, a renowned sculptor. Despite its large and daunting size, many initially saw it as a sign of distress. The piece was originally planned for the city of Cambridge, but the public protested its construction there. In 2006, the water of the fountain was switched off for conservation. Despite its usage of recycled water, it loses about 180 gallons a day to filtration and evaporation. Although it was soon switched on again, it had to be fenced off in 2009 due to hydraulic repairs. Despite all of this, the creativity involved with making such a monument has to be commended, so I believe Conner did a marvelous work with fabricating such a one-of-a-kind work of art (that flies off water!).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Layered Sculpture and The Glass Paintings of Our Time

When thinking about the growth of modern art today, China seems to be inching ahead of the rest because of their growing economy. In this age, artists like Xia Xiaowan incorporate new and exciting styles to dramatic genres in the hopes that people will stop and stare at something totally new. Xia creates very striking human-centered masterpieces that are set across several planes of glass. Each individual plane holds a part of her composed artwork. She creates using a structures system of hologram-like layers that combine through the eye and showcase a bold three-dimensional subject.


Xia's "spatial paintings" as they are often called, are portraits of anatomical complexities. Her almost horror-like style appeals to many in today's contemporary Chinese market, and even her peers abroad. Artists like David Spriggs from Canada are deeply involved with Xia's type of sculptural craft as well. Spriggs is famous for his fireworks-like bursts with a similar technical style to Xia's glass planes.


As China soars to new heights in the field of contemporary art, we now see an emerging population of new talents in and around the Asian societies.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Marcus Levine and Painting with Nails

Usually we don't blog as much about painting, but in a sense, this is more like sculpting anyway. Marcus Levine is a true construction genius, implementing a knowledge of chiaroscuro into each and every one of his fantastic grayscale artworks. The catch here is the media that he makes use of.



Marcus sculpts (or paints?) with nails. That's right, industrial grade nails that we normally use for hanging or shutting things around the house. This artist has turned an ordinary utility into an extraordinary possibility. The proximity of one nail in relation to the next gives the ability to create "shades" in every piece Marcus makes. As a contemporary artist, he joins the ranks as being an sculpture innovator for 2012 (at least in our book).


In the second photo above, Marcus Levine is seen with his work, "Tamas Study 4". The artwork contains 26,600 nails and is on sale for £26,500 at the Hammered exhibition at Gallery 27, in London.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pearl Fryar's Topiary Sculptures: The Evolving Art of Garden Sculpting

Amongst our travels, we've yet to find more than a handful of noteworthy "living garden" sculptures as vibrant and as rich as the ones made by Pearl Fryar. A native to the South Carolina, Fryar combines the fine art of sculpture with his love and passion for horticulture and life. What's more astounding about Fryar's serene garden is that much of the actual "art" came from little seedlings that were rescued from piles that were disposed of by others around the land. This act of giving a future to these plants and creating in them an artistic splendor makes Fryar a a true "green" artist in our books. With all the environmental movements going around lately, let's take a lesson from this pioneering artist turned horticulturist and work green when creating our wonderful art concepts.

Today, the Pearl Fryar Topiary garden has over 300 individual plants that mostly showcase this man's fervor for garden sculpting. The 2006 documentary called "A Man Named Pearl" exhibits his extraordinary journey into the field of re-styling nature to give it a fighting chance against the sometimes rough hand of society. Bothe the LA Times and the Wallstreet Journal have past encounters with Pearl, and neither can look back on him without simply remembering the majesty of his creations.


Fryar's web-home, can show you just how powerful one man's dynamic character can be. here's a screenshot showcasing Pearl himself, trimming away at one of his "living" sculptures. (Photo Credits go to www.pearlfryar.com) Keep being green everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sculptors of Asia Pay Tribute To Japan's Recent History


It has been quite a while, but many still remember the event that swept Japan by storm only a few memories ago. The tsunamis and earthquakes that rocked the Asian community were those of magnitude that affected the lives of millions. Today we show art that remembers this past and allows us to look back and reminisce the significance it had on the world.



Among the younger generation of artists, a Philippine sculptor, Kylo Chua created a contemporary piece entitled “Will We Just Watch?” The sculpted artwork reveals a tsunami figure (symbolizing mother nature perhaps) flowing wildly into an active society. The artwork shows a bold depth in symbolic power by composing itself of a collage-like medley of subjects. The “3D” glasses magnify the world’s helpless position during the reality of the event, and possibly the media’s widespread coverage of the tragic day.



Sand artist; Sudarsan Pattnaik modeled a gigantic palm flat against the sandy beaches at Puri. The intensity of the work drove curious bystanders to watch and gain awareness of the threat a tsunami can pose to any nation. This bold, awe-inspiring work shows a striking subject that grasps attention by the eyes and pulls it inward into a deeper and more tragic meaning. The temporal nature of its medium has got to be a part of the piece's own purpose. The sand that flows through the waves, no matter how massive and great, can still simply vanish with the tide... 


Possibly the most awe-striking wire sculpture we've ever gazed upon- the masterpiece; “Jit Jakawan” translates to the "Heart of the Universe". Phuket Kamala’s memorial centerpiece sculpture is one of Thai Sculptor, Udon Jiraksa’s most breathtaking pieces. A symbol of a bygone past, as well as a remembrance to the world, this largely scaled emblem is indeed a gravitating sight to behold. Organized by Laemkon Art from Bangkok, several artists (including American artist Louise Bourgeois, and  Swedish artist Lars Englund) joined Jiraksa in creating their very own works of art that pay tribute to that faithful day in 2011.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stacy Levi's Ecological Patterns in Contemporary Art

It's a rare thing to chance upon an artist whose passionate about the ways of the natural world. With several nature-inspired works such as River Eyelash ( 3,000 painted buoys responding to wind force on a river), Stacy Levi is an ecology patron who's also a one of a kind sculptor. It's not enough to say that academic taught her all of what she knows about art, because just as many artists often find their true calling through spontaneous emotion and activity, Levi found hers through the environment's gravitating influence on humanity. Many of her works sit atop river streams or woodlands and depict a rendering of nature in an raw form of grace and power.


Sculpture by Stacy Levi , Photography by Lionel Gruenberg

Her sculpture project in Mineral Springs Park, Seattle, is called Cloud Stones. These are made up of incredibly high gloss (polished) black stones that are in the shape of smooth domes. Text is inscribed by sandblasting material onto the domes and they tell the type of weather which cloud formations bring. White domes in the area also create a soothing and prominent evening presence and their color contrast with the black stones gives them more of a vibrance at dusk when the shadows return to the landscape.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Experimental Sculpture Evolution : Yaacov Agam's Journey

Not many visual artists are known from the holy land, but Israeli sculptor Yaacov Agam stands out as one of the most influential experimental sculptors today. Agam began his life as Yaakov Gipstein on May 11, 1928. As a young boy, he was already fond of aesthetic elements regularly found everyday, such as the bright colors of cityscapes and building designs. He eventually grew up into a true-blue lover of the arts, studying at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He also studied later on with Johanned Itten at the Kunstgewerbe Schule in Switzerland (where he moved to after his previous schooling). Currently Agam resides in Paris, where he has a daughter and two sons.


Sculpture by Yaacov Agam - Photography by Sheynhertz-Unbayg

At the beginning of his artistic career, Agam already had a knack for experimentation of color and geometrical contour. He often worked with sculptural fountains commissioned by various institutions. His first solo exhibit was at the Galerie Graven in 1953. Succeeding this exhibit was a smaller exhibition of 3 works at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. At the Le Mouvement exhibition at the Galerie Denise René, he was finally able to establish himself as a pioneer in kinetic art along with some other famous art personalities such as Pol Bury and Jean Tinguely. To this day, Agam loves to integrate his works with a flurry of light and sound. His captivating structural artworks often engage onlookers into an interactive participation. Some of his best projects for us, include the "Double Metamorphosis III" and the invention of a type of print called the "Agamograph", which makes use of lenticular printing to display different images depending on the angle upon which it is viewed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Evolutionary Art and its Innovative Concepts

Let's take a break from discussing about our main blog theme for a while and take a look at a new artistic approach to science that's breaking headway into the mainstream of the intellectual community. Likened to the practice of Generative art, Evolutionary art is characterized by the usage of principles based on natural evolution and selection. It is actually a branch of the latter and has also evolved to the usage of silicon based-systems (in contrast to Bio-Art or Organic Art).


The process of Evolutionary Art can be associated with the particular practice of modified evolution as well, where artificial or external factors are  introduced to several generations of reproductive species. Interactive evolution can also be observed when human beings alter the path of natural selection by choosing to breed for example, species that are more aesthetically pleasing than others. Evolutionary art is a long-spanning concept that bridges several years or time-periods of life. It is a way by which science can aesthetically describe modification and selection in their pursuit for evolutionary idealism. In truth though, it is more of an artistic way of looking at the sciences involved with the study of different species and their ancestry.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cleopatra's Wedge - Beverly Pepper's Scaled Creation

Of you ever take a stroll down the Burns Commons in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you may notice the fast rising population of public art displays around the area. Some people think of these monumental creations as a form of "plop art" because of their unique contrast to the surroundings, others say that the art pieces actually accent the townscape pretty well, and make the scenery just a bit more colorful. In 1991, Beverly Pepper; a sculptor from Brooklyn, carved away at an abandoned freeway corridor and shaped it into a tool's contour. Critics say that it resembles a leftover tool of Paul Bunyon (the giant lumberjack in fables). The sculpture was entitled "Cleopatra's Wedge" and maintains a vibrant rustic tone because of its material (Cor-ten)


Sculpture by Beverly Pepper - Photography Copyright © 2005 Sulfur

Beverly Pepper's sculpture was also exhibited at the New York Battery Part and Paris, France. It was eventually purchased for over two hundred thousand American dollars by Barry Mandel to put at its current location; the Burns Commons. Mandel hoped that the artwork would act as a centerpiece for the sculpture garden, surrounded by several smaller works. The park itself was named after Robert Burns, famous poet, giving consistency to the arts theme of the area. Pepper's monumental creation currently towers over the Burns Commons and stands as a lighthearted sight for park-goers and art lovers alike.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Masahiko Kimura and Bonsai as Living Sculpture

The term Living Sculpture can be applied to a number of categories such as Land Art, Environmental Art, and Bonsai. Today, we look into the life of the "Magical Technician of Kindai Shuppan"; Masahiko Kimura. Bonsai art is no easy task, people have to intensively twist and coil wires into young plants to inhibit or shape their growth, at the same time leaves and roots have to be trimmed for the tree to grow into miniaturized proportions. At the early age of 15, Kimura became the apprentice of bonsai master Motosuke Hamano of Toju-en Bonsai Garden. His great skill in conceptualizing the growth pattern of trees became his catalyst into the bonsai society's greatest. He was also able to swiftly move past critiques who said his works were widely controversial at first.



In his early years though,  Kimura did not have the entire support of the Japanese Bonsai community because he desired unconventional forms for his art. His very first workshop was at the 1987 Golden State Federation Bonsai Convention in Anaheim, California. He has been giving workshops on Bonsai ever since, and has grown in popularity over the international art scene. Most of the trees he designed were Juniperu Chinensis, but he expanded his trade to encompass different kinds of local and foreign trees over the span of his long career. Kimura had won many awards for his bonsai sculptures, such as the Prime Minister's Award four times (4 years), and the Minister of Education Award in 1999. He was also the teacher of popularized bonsai artist; Marco Invernizzi.

Origami Bonsai Sculpture

A few weeks ago we posted an article about the sculptural potential of Origami and Kirigami. Today upon browsing through some art prints, we found that among the origami artists of Japan, some consider a few form to be a hybrid between two types of art. Bonsai Origami is a combination of the paperfoldding craft and the tree-shaping craft, both popular art hobbies in Japan. In this hybrid hobby, the technique uses tree branches from actual plants, and combines these elements with paper flowers, leaves and fruits. This interesting artform was actually introduced by a foreigner; John Coleman in 2010.

Coleman wrote a book entitled Origami Bonsai during April of last year. Aside from his initial publication, Coleman still strives to improve the technique further. He developed a technique called Makigami which uses rolled up newspapers in specific contours to substitute the real tree branches. Coleman's organic passion for origami has taken the practice to a different level of orientation. He has adapted his own style into an age-old art form and has gained a number of followers at the same time.

John Chamberlain's Rustic Beauty

These days, fine art is a broad concept unrestricted by classical standards unlike in the Greek and Victorian ages. Many sculptures believe that making use of scrap or found objects is a good way to help rebuild something by turning it into something else. John Chamberlain uses old automobile parts and crushed steel to create distorted compositions of rustic sculptures in pure abstract form. Chamberlain wen to the Art Institute of Chicago and Black Mountain College during his years of learning. He became quite famous for his unique style of painting into three dimensions and his usage of car parts. He works and resides at Shelter Island in New York and has been sculpting for over fifty years.


Sculpture by John Chamberlain - Photography by Ser Amantio di Nicolao

Chamberlain's sculptures have been seen in Biennials around the globe, including the Sao Paulo Biennial in the early 1960's and the Whitney Biennial in the 1970's. During his career, Chamberlain was also represented by two esteemed galleries; the Gagosian Gallery and the Pace Gallery chronologically. It is rumored that he actually has a piece of his artwork on the moon. Not many sculptors can boast that kind of accomplishment indeed. Aside from these little pieces of information about him, he has also garnered several recognitions from various institutions like the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture which awarderd him the Skowhegan medal for sculpture in 1993 and the National Arts Club in New York that conferred upon him the National Arts Club Artist's Award in the late 1990's.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bill Woodrow's Sculptures Combine and Create from a Degree of Metal Diversities

In the 1970's many new faces in the world of Britain's sculpture community emerged into popular society. Among the personalities, Bill Woodrow stood out as a contemporary sculptor of mixed media creations. Many of his very first sculptural pieces were works made from materials and objects found in scrap yards. He has a fondness for using metal wares and machinery that have been discarded and abandoned. Many of the artworks made by Woodrow actually retain a sense of their former elements. Woodrow alters a diversity of materials to present them to the public in a new context of understanding, but still creates a personal feel and narrative by which people can relate with.


Sculpture by Bill Woodrow - Photography by John McCullough 2006

He started using bronze as a material for his creative process during the 1990's. He was also one of the three artists selected to make a sculpture for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2000. Woodrow's many exquisite pieces made him famous for his metal assemblage skills and his original kind of creativity. Some of his other works distinctly proclaimed a new take on mixed media, such as his sculpture Pond in 2006 which made use of hundreds of copper or bronze coin shapes. The image featured above is Woodrow's sculpture Sitting in History which was bought by Carl Djerassi and Diane Middlebrook in the late 1990's for the British Library. Bill Woodrow's contemporary creations have earned him a following even among the younger generations of today's modern art world.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jay Gubitz and his Stained Glass Sculptures

You've all seen the usual stained glass artworks at cathedrals or deco building windows, but did any of you know about the artist who pioneered the usage of stained glass for 3D sculpture? Jay Gubitz turned the industry into an artform by innovating a stereotypical 2D media into new heights. Jay was always interested in the process of design, but began his career as a marketing artist. Eventually though, he found his way into glass by enrolling at several workshop courses at the suggestion of his wife, Elaine Gubitz. Using a basic foundation of knowledge from his lessons, he then built on them using trial and error methods. Through his own self-taught art methodologies, he was able to free the stained glass medium of its flat limitations.


Photography and Sculpture Artwork by Jay Gubitz

Jay often got his inspiration from nature, creating soaring depictions of eagles, parrots and other birds. He won several notable recognitions at the Gallery of Excellence at the Glass Craft Expo and the Glastar's competition. When he started, his works mostly showcased a semi-flat silhouette body with a few single layered curves. Later on, many of his avian-inspired sculptures like eagles and seagulls, started to have square bodies and more pronounced wing extremities. An evolution of his process gradually created more and more accurate depictions of wildlife and natural subjects. His most recent works have evolved even in comparison to his previous three dimensional sculptures. Now embodied with Gubitz' roundish organic style of placing glass, his artworks exhibit a life-like realism clad in a peerless technicolor glass exterior.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Art Practices of Sculptor John Bacon

A true blue British sculptor from Southwark, John Bacon was born in 1799 and was fascinated by sculpture at a very early age. He apprenticed at Lambeth; a porcelain manufacturer very famous at the time. Bacon was fourteen by the time he worked there as a painter and sculpture modeller. By getting accustomed to the process of high-fired porcelain, he was able to get a good learning foundation for the craft. Eventually during the course of his life, he made use of the technical and practical knowledge base to create his own unique and well-defined porcelain sculptures. Aside from working in porcelain, Bacon also mastered several other media, such as stone-working and marble-carving. He was able to improve an artificial stone sculpting process being used at the Coade Artificial Stone Manufactory.


Sculpture of Father Thames by John Bacon - Photography by John Thaxter


In the late 1700's John Bacon first started working with hard marble material. In 1769, he eventually won a gold medal for sculpture at the Royal Academy for his creation of a bas-relief scenario of Aenas' escape from the city of Troy. Because of this sudden fame, Bacon was then commissioned to create a bust of King George III. This was a landmark moment in his career as a sculptor, and the times to come were much more vibrant in terms of projects and opportunities for him. He went on to do more works for other famous identities and continued to keep the favor of King George throughout a long period of time. Bacon's works can now be seen and studied at St. Paul's Cathedral in London and Pembroke College among others locations.

Kirigami, Sekkei and Comlex Origami Sculpture

Robert Lang, Meguro Toshiyuki and a few others developed a methodological system of origami paper folding called Technical Origami or Origami Sekkei. Unlike normal day-to-day origami folding, Sekkei Origami is more likened to an artform, specifically the artform of three dimensional sculpture. The creative output of Sekkei Origami can be characterized by complicated figures composed of well-formed details. Examples could include multi-jointed subjects with complex extremities such as toes, legs, tails and wings. Most of the usual patterns involved with this type of origami sculpting begins with something called the crease pattern, which is basically the overall layout of the creases needed to form the final model. Many origami sculptors develop their own compositions and designs by structural trial and error.

Surprisingly enough there are also computer programs that people use to aid them with structuring the comples diagrams of these origami types. Such include Doodle- which is used to create a photoshop file that has all the steps and figures needed to create a figure, and Treemaker- a program used to design a pattern of the final model.



Origami Sculpture (Hercules Beetle) by Robert Lang

Another alternate version of origami sculpture is Kirigami, where people make use of slices and cuts on the paper to form even more complicated joint systems and details. Because Kirigami includes the ability to cut creases, it gives a bit more flexibility to the artist, but makes each work more complicated for other people to replicate.

Origami may not be considered as fine or museum-type sculpture as a whole genre, but there are several artists out there who have mastered the art of folding, stacking and manipulating paper to the extent that galleries and shows have commissioned them to be a part of their collections. Origami has reached new heights in the world of sculpture, transcending price, time and even digital media. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Minimalism in Sculpture

For every complexity and detail observed in hyper-realism or naturalism, we can also see an opposite trait within the movement of minimalistic art. Whether sculpture or painting, photography or digital art, minimalism is a basic foundation that appeals to many in the community. Often thought over as elegant, avant-garde mannerisms of design, minimalism actually exhibits the trait of containing the strongest impact in the smallest of bodies. It portrays a certain type of aesthetic beauty that almost anyone can appreciate due to its simplicity in freeform and structure. Artists and theorists argued that minimalism conveyed every message that any other artform could, but through an extremist's definition of simplicity at work.


Free Ride Sculpture by Tony Smith (Minimalism in Sculpture)

The movement derives some of its traits from the Bauhaus period, making use of geometric abstraction. It also arose in combat to the rising complexity of abstract expressionism and non-representative abstract works that were diversely vibrant in color and composition. It was later followed by post-minimalism, which is symbolized by the usage of minimalism merely as a conceptual reference point and not a central theme.

Sculpting the Environment

The term environmental sculpture will often bring up an image of something green. It would make you thing of something that's alive, or biodegradable, or at the very least something organic. Despite these stereotypical ideas which are not entirely wrong, many environmental sculptures generate there impact and beauty by pooling together the things that surround them and creating an assemblage of sorts. Just like in the picture below, this man-made scenery is actually an example of "Site-Specific" sculpture that resembles a spiral whirlpool in the ocean. This movement of sculpture began from contemporary abstract sculpture, but was transformed by several artists including Robert Irwin, James Turrel and Richard Serra.


Sculpture by Robert Smithson Photgraphy by Soren Harward

Sometimes called "land art" , these large sculptures or scenery designs can take months to create because of their unique media. It is indeed a challenge for any artist to get out there and use the earth as his canvas. Most environmental or site-specific sculptures are public artworks because of their great size and public availability. The artists that create them often have a purpose or message in mind that they would like the world to discover through their art. Popular themes of recent years include global warming, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and remnants of typhoons. Similar to the plop art movement, these works can amass a common area and sometimes by opinionized by many as out of place, although plop art entails much more ostracizing than site-specific art because of its nature to be a random body.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Complexities and Risks of Mixed Media

Sculptures in the classical age were all created with stone, wood or precious metals. This signified the ability to last from generation to generation within family possessions. Today however, a popular trend defies this historical observation, the evoloution of mixed media.

Mixed media is a term that people use when refering to works of art that contain two or more substantial or structural media within their main composition. The most popular forms of mixed media art include assemblage sculptures and hybridities between sculpture and other forms of art.

The artist' ability to foresee the combinations of materials can be the reason why many mixed media works often draw a crowd's attention merely from the contrasting beauty of its substances. Combining glass and wood for example is a good start to creating a still life sculpture of a river scene. Mixed media is an opportunity for artists to break down limitations in texture, color and even physical discrepancies. It also measures how much an artist knows about his or hee media as well.

The risks in creating mixed media works can be great. First of all, artists do not often take the long years to master two or more media, it is painstakingly hard to perfect glass casting for example. On the other hand if one would wish to work with glass he may instead go for an assemblage technique and make use of existing glass pieces, bypassing the need to cast anything. The point is, using two media usually means an artist does not have a complete mastery in at least one of them. This can be allocated to risks in stability, immediate presence and environment related issues. Another thing to consider about mixed media artwork, is their consistent originality, some artists make use of combining old or antique wares or manufactured products like plastics. These would most likely have been made by external sources that could close down or disappear in the future, stripping the style of a key medium and forcing it to change consistency. These are some of the issues presented to mixed media art, however they are minor at most and do not always happen to be the case. Mixed media is still a novelty art innovation that continues to surprise our society every day with newer and bolder creations.

Indigenous Art and The World of the Creator

When we take a look into the tribes of the remote areas in the Philippines, like the province of Ifugao for example, we will often see a culture as rich as our own, teeming with its own kind of traditional system, language and artistic preference.

When you see the work of these local craftsmen, you'll be astonished by the level of design they are capable of conjuring. During visits to the rice terraces in Banawe, Ifugao, I came across curiosities that caught my attention in the purely visual sense at first. Little sculptures carved out of local wood depicted the daily lives of these indigenous tribes. There were portraits of mothers carrying their babies while harvesting grain, hunters with their long spears, and symbolical carvings that the locals referred to as anitos. It wasn't hard to recognize that the inspiration for all of these wonderful artworks was the very essence of the tribes communal life. Many of the pieces had symbolisms as well. There was a pregnant female figurine with the traditional rounded belly in some of the households i saw. Apparently their purpose was to instill a sense of good fertility upon the couple residing in the residence.

It's quite common for us to overlook art of this kind in the marketplace or common centers, however the true roots of indigenous art come from a beauty we can only understand by living the lives of those that created them.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Collecting Medallion-Relief Sculptures

We already know that coin sculptors have the extremely difficult task of creating relief sculptures on a very minimized canvas. These types of artists are but an example of who medallist sculptors are and what they do. To carve or cast a medallion, one would need a good sense of dexterity and a specific set of modelling tools, such as magnifying lenses and pin-type shaping instruments. Traditionally, wax or plaster models are used for the original design of cast medallions. Casting serves as the best way to mass-produce medallions to be made into a limited edition work. The usual media you can expect would be bronze, copper, silver, nickel or gold. New media such as palladium are also available as art medallions. Over time, these medallions usually become considered as antiques and are often sold in antique stores and specialty shops rather than art galleries, but their vintage value remains constant at the very least. Some rarer coins and medals can fetch up to thousands of dollars after being appraised by a certified persona or historian.

Jacques Jonghelinck was a Flemish sculptor and medallist from Brussels in the late 1500's. He was one of the more famous artists that created fine and accurate medallion portraits of the important persona at the time. His clients included Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, president of the council of state at the time.

Jean Auguste Barre was a French medallist who studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a well known portrait sculptor as well. He exhibited several medallion pieces at the French Salon from 1831 to 1886 that are now part of priceless collections. Many of his famous patrons included Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, and Susan B. Anthony.

Approach at Glance : Gas Sculpture and Its Potential for Art Interactivity

What is gas sculpture? Have you ever heard of it? Today, people are slowly but surely conceiving new and innovative ways of creating art. Sculpture however, was founded on the basis of concrete and tangible substances. It was stretched many times with the emergence of water sculpture, sound sculpture and kinetic sculpture, however these days there are even stranger discoveries that the art world has got to look out for. Gas sculpture was first proposed by Joan Miro, but has extended itself to become a worldwide question- how can one sculpt gas?


Photography by Black Squirrel

At the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, there exists a prime example of the new media. A pond is surrounded by an array of tiny nozzles that can be switched on to produce a fine, billowing fog. Considered to be a sculpture that continuously changes in shape, this artwork is supposed to be affected by the various surroundings that change as well, such as wind currents, plant life and water rushes.

There are other sculptures out there that already make use of gas as an aesthetic element, such as Jean-Paul Riopele's L Joute, which makes use of fog nozzles along with its fire jets and fountains.

There is currently a growing number of art enthusiasts who are trying to get involved with the evolution of gas sculpture. Some museums, like the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh are planning to install gas-related sculpture art for interactivity and art appreciation among the youth.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lladro's Journey of Sculpture

Everyone is probably familiar with the worldwide luxury sculpture brand; Lladro. The porcelain company originated from Valencia, Spain and eventually grew to become an international leader of the art industry. If you or your siblings have not heard of it, then try asking your parents or grandparents if they have. Lladro's journey did not start within this generation's timeline. Their history began over sixty years ago when three young brothers left their day jobs as tile makers at a local factory to pursue their  artistic dream.

Lladro is most famous for developing their own style, slip recipe and techniques in fine porcelain. Their sculptures often exhibit subtle blends of soft pastel tones.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Collecting Sculptres in a Modern Philippines

I've been collecting artworks since my high school days, and I can honestly say that much of the collector population thinks of financial investment at least 60% of the time.. The world of art has been appraised and made to secondarily function as a mini-stock market sometimes, and while many artists and longtime patrons would consider themselves immune to this way of thinking, the average man isn't. When it comes to fine art, there are always other things in mind, aside from aesthetics.

Modern sculpture in the Philippines is a fairly emerging art. Despite the country being home to several thousands of visual artists, the art form of painting has always been the most popular to date. Sculpture has only seen recent re-popularization in the middle class art markets due to the emerging artists that cultivated it despite the advice from the entire community. One fascinating sculptor who's caught my eye is Michael Cacnio, who won the 2006 TOYM Award. He's a social realist and a very impressive brass sculptor in the Philippines, but doesn't come from the same generation as the traditionalist artists. His modern interpretations of Philippine society impressed an international audience with their detail and style.

Another good example would be the artists of the Artasia Fine Art Gallery in SM Megamall. Seb Chua, Noy Gepte and Kylo Chua, started sculpting a little less than a decade ago when no one else (aside from top brass) would go near it in fear of zero sales. The newly formed troupe made their way to the top of the field by garnering several prestigious awards from the Art Association of the Philippines, the Shell National Art Competition and the GSIS Competition. These artists, along with 6 or 7 other friends decided to venture out and explore the world of cast sculpture and mixed media bit by bit. They eventually set up their own gallery at the SM Megamall building A's fourth floor. Throughout the many years that this troupe has been together, I've always considered them one of the best inspirations and hopes for the future of modern sculpture in the Philippines.

Another artist, Ronald Ventura, has grown his fair share of followers over the last few years. His works are definitely deep in theme, and have made their way across international borders to exhibit with different localities around the world. He's also represented the Philippines and southeast Asia during his solo show at the Tyler Rollins Fine Art Gallery in New York city a few years back. Ventura is another prime example of Filipino evolving sculpture. Since his first one-man exhibit “All Souls Day” in 2001, he's set up several distinguished shows and gained the respect of the art world as a modern sculptor. 

Other Philippine sculptors that you may already know, are still very much present in the art scene. The beautiful glass creations of Ramon Orlina make themselves known at every art fair and nationwide exhibit I go to. I've always wondered about this man's curious style of portraying abstract and human beauty through his carving of glass blocks. Needless to say, his status is already that of a master when it comes to technique and form, being honed for over a decade in a craft specialized only by his own two hands. Orlina gives a a new contemporary beauty to glass sculpture, and was recognized for it during several awards around Asia. His presence as one of the leading Filipino sculptor today is definitely a positive push for the future generations of artists.

Sculpture is now being considered top investable art as well, thanks to artists that have just made their mark in a scene overpopulated by painting. Today, the Philippine collectors of the old world are still beginning to show appreciation for such an artform, but the days of the traditionalists are inevitably fading away. A contemporary movement of young and modernist sculptors are ready to set foot on Philippine creativity.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum : A Haven for Young Sculptors

The sculpture park opened its doors back in 1950, but ever since then people have been returning to this wonderful venue for creative thinking.  This thirty five acre location boasts both a wide open area park that hosts more than sixty notable sculptures/artworks at every point in time. Aside from their famous outdoor exhibition, an indoor museum is also home to an array of rotating exhibits made by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists.

The museum constantly also maintains a strong relationships with many of the emerging young artists from the New England pool of sculptors and creative people. The venue hosts several interesting activities related to both sculpture and the fine arts. Talks, interactive tours, classes and other events will be common sights at this place that's open all year round. It also offers one of the largest non-degree granting studios in all of New England. They currently have around 2,000 students of the arts enrolled in classes and workshops made to hone their creative ability.

To find out more about their activities, please visit their website here.

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