Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Some amazing sculptures, Part 1


I have previously posted photographs of some of the sculptures to be shown in this continuing post but have not written about them. Here are some brief notes on what are pretty amazing sculptures.

“Expansion” by Paige Bradley

  • Paige Bradley is a classically trained American sculptor living and working in London. Her bronze sculptures of the human figure often illustrate both the beauty of the human form and the complex, frequently contradictory, yearnings of the human spirit. 
  • She has commented that the current sculpture vogue is for abstract and conceptual sculpture, rather than for figurative works, but that she feels that there is a role for figurative works. She has commented that upon moving to Manhattan she found that curators and critics were anti-figure:
"So many of these people felt like everything figurative had already been done, and real art was about being a “Visionary” rather than just showing ability, accuracy or general talent. Thus, the figure had generally disappeared from galleries, museums, important collections, art fairs and other shows. The few of us that were left had no place to exhibit and our voice was not being heard. Many figurative sculptors started teaching, as that was all they could do."
  • “Expansion”, the above sculpture, is an attempt to cover both worlds:
"If I wanted to stay in the fine art field, I knew I had to join my contemporaries and make ‘contemporary’ art. I knew that it was time to let go of all the finely tuned skills I had acquired over the years, and just trust in the process of making art. The art world was telling me I had to break down my foundation, let my walls crumble, expose myself completely, and from there I will find the true essence of what I needed to say.

So, literally, I took a perfectly good (wax) sculpture– a piece I had sculpted with precision over several months– an image of a woman meditating in the lotus position, and just dropped it on the floor. I destroyed what I made. I was letting it all go. It was scary. It shattered into so many pieces. My first feeling was, “what have I done?!” Then, I trusted it would all come together like I envisioned.”
  • After having smashed her sculpture into pieces, she then had the pieces cast in bronze and assembled them, but in a way where they were not attached to each other and instead appeared to float. A lighting specialist installed the lighting within the work.
  • What does the sculpture mean?  That depends on who is looking at it, there being numerous interpretations: the strength of the spirit; the impermanence of the body, the getting in touch with the inner self . . .
  • As for Paige Bradley’s own take on “Expansion”:
“From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: A social security number, a gender, a race, a profession or an I.Q. I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist if we were authentically 'un-contained?”
  • The figure in “Expansion” looks very much like Bradley herself:

  • Some other Paige Bradley works:

“Freedom Bound”

Robin Wright, Fairy Sculptures
  • UK based sculptor Robin Wright is known for his sculptures of fairies dancing with dandelions.
  • The works have a beauty that changes according to the time of day, the weather conditions and the angle of viewing.
  • In creating his sculptures, Wright begins with a strong steel skeleton upon which he wraps progressively smaller gauges of wire. After the thickest wire of the skeleton comes the next thickest in making the muscles and body, then the finest wire to make the skin. Wight also buries a stone “heart” at each fairy’s core, sometimes engraving these hearts with messages.
  • According to Wright:
"In 2010 while mending a fence, I twisted some old wire together to throw away and thought, “I bet you could use fence wire to make a sculpture.” My first attempt was a fairy for the bottom of the garden. I’m still making wire fairies today, but what started as a hobby has grown into a family business. Each fairy is completely unique as they cannot be mass produced. I shy away from commissions and prefer to simply design, make and sell them separately as I go."

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