Collector’s Focus: Sculpture
Throughout the years, artists have experimented with materials to create sculpture, often pushing and combining media to realize their ideas. We have all tried. and perhaps succeeded, to fold paper to make origami cranes and other animals. The practice began in Japan and the word origami comes from the words “to fold” and “paper.” Paper had been invented in China around 105 CE and was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks. The practice was first for ceremonial purposes but with the later mass production of paper it became more popular.
Kevin Box explains, “The origami crane is a symbol of truth, peace, beauty and long life. This crane reveals the meaning of its life as it unfolds into a star” as he reveals in his work Crane Unfolding. Box began his career as a papermaker, printmaker and graphic designer. He developed a process to make his paper creations more permanent in bronze, aluminum and steel. He says, “Motivating the content of the work are my concepts of truth, my philosophy of chaos and consciousness, creation and evolution, the process of creativity and our relationships and responsibilities to one another.”
Brett F. Harvey explores human relationships, especially his relationship to his own masculinity. His figures could have stepped out of marble surrounds on the Parthenon or the Altar of Zeus at Pergamon. Yet, they are modeled in clay and cast in contemporary materials, such as cementitious concrete and gypsum cement. They are both contemporary and timeless. Hold is a heroically muscular nude male devoid of attitude—human, not a god. His arm and hand are ready to caress or to express, not to wield a weapon. His confident stride spans an ominous gap in the gypsum cement base that rests on a sheet of steel. It suggests an underlying strength that will survive any calamity.
Harvey says, “My work presents a dichotomy between intimidating physicality and pensive vulnerability. This upends historical tropes and speaks to the inner emotions and experiences conflicting and encompassing all humanity. I hope that my own attempts to try to better under-
stand these spiritual and philosophical concepts will permeate my figures to create work that bears the mark of our contemporary culture, speaks of the human condition and encourages the same thoughts—and questions—in others.”
Elodie Holmes and Enrico Embroli, working in glass and bronze, respectively, “create sculptures that blur the line between modern art and ancient artifact.” Free Spirit, from the Guardian Series, represents their intent for each piece is “to express the spirit of old-world cultures and their relationships with the planet and humankind. The Guardian Series visually reflects this deeply rooted connection with an intent to inspire the viewer to be cognizant of the immense responsibility we have as humans to protect each other, the vulnerable and our beloved mother earth.”
In Free Spirit, the glass resembles an unfurling fern, delicate, but able to support a bronze totem animal, suggesting the delicate balance of life.
Albert Paley creates with metal as if it were the most malleable of materials. Whether in monumental gates or tabletop candlesticks he turns structural metal into delicate, sinuous, organic, living things. His 1974 gates for the Renwick Gallery are not only masterful in their forms but in his use of the colors of the forged steel, brass, copper and bronze. “At first when I realized I was a romantic, I was sort of shocked and shamed,” he said. “But it is true...that the material I work most with is emotion.”
The blackened steel in his Scepter Candlesticks reveals its true color in some places and the bronze bobeches beneath the candles reflect the candle light.
John Updike wrote, “Professionalism in art has this difficulty: To be professional is to be dependable, to be dependable is to be predictable, and predictability is esthetically boring—an anti-virtue in a field where
“As in all art purchases, I always simply say buy what you love, what moves you, what speaks to you. One could do a little more by doing a little research in the artists, educate themselves about possible pitfalls, buy from reputable galleries, use common sense and always feel free to ask questions.”
— Emily Wilde, assistant director, Total Arts Gallery
we hope to be astonished and startled and at some deep level refreshed.”
These contemporary sculptors are unpredictable, astonishing, startling and refreshing.
In the pages of this special section are sculptures that range in materials, subject matter and style. They show the breadth of an artist’s imagination and skill as they mold, chisel, shape and bend to create three-dimensional forms. There also are insights from artists and dealers on inspirations and the market.
In her sculpture, Amy Bright Unfried combines two art forms to create one-ofa-kind tabletop-sized pieces. She says, “Women have worked with fibers—weaving, crocheting, knitting—for tens of thousands of years, and the medium of bronze has been used for thousands of years. I like the idea of combining the two.”
For her work, crocheted—sometimes knitted—yarn forms are cast using the lost-wax process. “Many have included birds,” she says, “but more recently the organic undulations of the crochet have resembled the underwater motion of reeds with seaweed, so the pieces have become environments for abstract fish.”
Each time Brent Cooke, who operates CastArt Studio in Victoria, British Columbia, undertakes a new sculpture, he tries to frame the work from the viewer’s perspective. He asks himself, “Does the piece convey a story that can be recognized by a wide audience? Does the piece have movement? Is the shape pleasing to the eye?”
Cooke’s subjects are generally birds because they allow him to combine abstraction in the movement and realism in the birds themselves.
California-based sculptor Brian Keith’s pieces feature classical techniques, but also include contemporary subjects. Keith’s first major commission came in 2005, when he created a bronze portrait bust of former President Ronald Reagan.
He also has sculpted a portrait bust of Nancy Reagan, and has created wildlife works such as Majestic, a bronze eagle with a 32-inch wingspan. He is inspired by, “majestic symphonies of form and storytelling that draw the observer in a world of frozen time.”
The lifelike figurative bronzes of Carole A. Feuerman often feature women in bathing suits and swim caps, sometimes submerged in water and other times having just stepped out and covered in droplets. “My sculptures have a special relationship to the shore and the shore has a relationship to the water,” says Feuerman. “They intimately balance against each other. Viewers will feel the connection between the beach and the balance that the people in my sculptures have found through their personal journeys.”
Bryant Nagel Galleries represents a number of sculptors at its Lanning and Turquoise Tortoise galleries in Sedona, Arizona, including Larry Yazzie, Baje Whitethorne Sr. and Kim Chavez. Gallery owner Jennifer Bryant Nagel says, “For many, sculpture is a particularly profound form of representation, in that it comes closer than other forms of art to making real the artist’s vision.”
Living in Florida, Donna Piltch is often inspired by her surroundings—such as the beaches and people. She says, “I prefer
classical form that offers the subtle shift in value of a finely painted Florida genre scene. My sculptures bring a celebration of Florida light. It is this sense of place that gives my figurative work an organic relationship with its simple surroundings.”
Jon Edward trained as a painter and ceramicist at California State University, Fullerton, and he has taken a number of workshops with artists such as Steve Huston, Paul Soldner, Jerry Rothman and Paul Day. All have influenced his “philosophy and purist of a constant ever-changing sense of self-discovery and experimenting with new processes.” Of his sculpture, he says, “My work displays the bond between all living things, emphasizing the spiritual connection between man and animal but also exploring the disconnect. To find harmony and balance in life and in art is a primary focus.”
Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mary Hodge has found that her interest in sculpting Native Americans has grown stronger. “Hopi Man is referenced from Edward S. Curtis’ photographs of American Indians to document the
cultures of various tribes of North America. He spent 30 years in this endeavor and his images are found in the Smithsonian Institute,” she says. “I found the images fascinating to work from and I have done many pieces in bronze of them.”
Pagie Bradley explores the human body as vehicle to communicate today’s struggles, isolations, limitations and brokenness. Her work captures the light of the spirit and the power of the body while capturing a beautiful mortality that is both fragile and fierce. Listed numerous times as having created some of the world’s most intriguing and creative works of art, people profoundly connect to the imagery of her sculptures. Over the last 20 years, Bradley has held sculpture studios in London, California and New York.
Stephen Porter creates elegant sculptures for gardens, interiors, installations and corporate settings in stainless steel, bronze, granite and laminated hardwoods. His works of art explore the pure language of geometrics and are characterized by carefully balanced design and meticulous craftsmanship. Scale runs the gamut from small tabletop pieces to large outdoor architectural installations.
Located in Taos, New Mexico, Total Arts Gallery represents a number of artists working in three dimensions including Daniel Glanz, Shirley Thomson-Smith and the late Stanley Bleifeld.
Glanz says, “Observations from life are so important. It adds real perspective. It
“Because sculpture occupies three dimensions much as we do, it’s especially important that collectors choose pieces they can really live with, not just as objects but as
fellow inhabitants of space.”
— Dr. Jennifer Bryant Nagel, owner, Bryant Nagel Galleries
gives you the ability to determine whether something looks right. Sculpture needs to be balanced; it needs to flow; it needs to be anatomically accurate.” Thomson-Smith’s works have been influenced by living in Durango, Colorado, and traveling through New Mexico where she was drawn to the strength, character and symbolic role of Native American women. Bleifeld’s pieces have been known since the 1950s, with widespread recognition coming from the 1964 World’s Fair Vatican Pavilion’s commission of a five-part bronze relief. His work continued to be recognized by critics and published in newspapers and magazines.
Located on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, Wells Gallery features a number of sculptors including Russell Gordon and Eric Tardif. Tardif, who has been creating wood sculptures for 20 years, says, “After working a couple years in natural science, I decided to study as a cabinet maker. Then, I saw in the newspaper a course being offered about art and sculpture. I knew I was creative and thought this course could
“The beauty of collecting bronze sculptures is that the medium is so permanent that they are guaranteed to be family heirlooms.”
—Brent Cooke, artist
1. Selby Fleetwood Gallery, Crane Unfolding, powder coated cast bronze, 92 x 48 x 48", by Kevin Box.
2. Brett F. Harvey, Hold, Ultracal30 gypsum cement, ed. 1 of 5, 21½" 3. Liquid Light Glass, Free Spirit, Guardian Series, glass and bronze, 13 x 5", by Elodie Holmes and Enrico Embroli. 4. Winfield Gallery, Scepter Candlesticks, blackened steel and brass, 24½ x 5½", by Albert Paley. 5. Selby Fleetwood Gallery, Jax Spots A Friend, mixed media/found objects, 37 x 14 x 9", by Geoffrey Gorman. 6. Selby Fleetwood Gallery, Journey in Time, bronze, 23 x 12 x 3", by Belgin Yucelen. 7. Carole A. Feuerman, Next Summer, lacquer
on bronze with polished stainless steel, 39 x 54 x 50" 8. Carole A. Feuerman, DurgaMa, lacquer on bronze, 101 x 90 x 91"
9. Paige Bradley, Academia II, bronze, 40 x 27 x 5" 10. Carole A. Feuerman, Monumental Quan, lacquer on bronze with polished stainless steel, 67 x 60 x 43" 11. Paige Bradley, Apex Column, bronze, 84 x 17 x 23" 12. Paige Bradley, Liberty, bronze, 30 x 14 x 12" 13. RJD Gallery, Lapin, resin, ed. of 8, 28½ x 7¾ x 7", by Veronique Guerrieri.
14. RJD Gallery, Lapinou (Big Rabbit), bronze, painted white, ed. of 8, 85 x 34 x 26", by Veronique Guerrieri. 15. Total Arts Gallery, Girl With Pigeons, bronze, ed. 7 of 7, 21", by Stanley Bleifeld. 16. Total Arts Gallery, Up and Coming, bronze, ed. 4 of 10, 30", by Daniel Glanz. 17. Wells Gallery, Heron, Bicolor, bent wood, walnut, 42 x 18 x 16", by Eric Tardif.
26. Brian Keith, Majestic, bronze, 32" wingspan 27. Brian Keith, Nancy Reagan, bronze, 8 x 12 x 9" 28. Bryant Nagel Galleries, Love of Mother, bronze, ed. 38 of 50, 11 x 8 x 4", by Larry Yazzie. 29. Brent Cooke, Headin’ Home, bronze, black granite, ed. 10, 24 x 42 x 35" 30. National Museum of Wildlife Art, Invitation to the Dance, stainless steel, ed. of 12, 20 x 20 x 9", by Kent Ullberg.