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Col­lec­tor’s Fo­cus: Sculp­ture

American Art Collector - - Contents - BY JOHN O’HERN

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"

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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.

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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.

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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.

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