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Old 09-02-2007, 01:45 AM
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StevenW StevenW is offline
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Re: Artist defends surfing sculpture amid criticism

Originally Posted by JasonGillespie
To lifecast or not to life cast? Ironically, I am less concerned with this aspect of the work in question and more concerned with some fundamental creative problems I think it has.

I'm not less concerned at all and believe this IS the problem.

Putting aside the means of fabricating a figurative work for the moment, any good sculpture of this sort should have a narrative and compositional power that makes other considerations secondary.

Yes, and the narrative here is "I need to go number two"

This sculpture fails in that mission, in my opinion. It seems little more than a sketch, a shadow of an idea that is still waiting to be released.

Like the Karate kid is waiting to be Bruce Lee.

(I am not refering to its degree of finish should anyone feel a need to defend the veneer of the sculpture....I am refering to its substance)

I do not feel this need.

It lacks the resolution of pose, body tension, psychological impact, is an unedited idea that shouldn't have left the drawing board without a lot more work.

I doubt it ever made it to the drawing board, in fact I don't think there was even a pencil in the room.

Instead of being an embodiment of surfing, it could easily be a boy doing something else that requires his arms flailing around...(jumping on a bed or perhaps a trampoline?)....and that is a fatal flaw.

Or a kid stuck in a big glob of plaster crying for his mommy to take him home.

I won't even touch upon the funny looking spatter beneath the "dynamically" positioned surfboard or the chunk of rock "thoughtfully" placed beneath that. (Oh, I'm sorry it's not spatter...that's supposed to be surf...shame you can't make a cast of that.)

Shame indeed, sounds like a job for Hollywood, maybe the guys from the movie "Titanic" could help.

As a result I can understand those in the surfing community who feel that some sort of fraud is being foisted upon them. Regardless of how it was made, it should at least make sense to the people it is meant to represent...they should "get it" when no one else does.

I don't "get it" and I surfed Dana Point and Newport Oregon for years and if I ever saw anyone do this I would have had a tough time deciding whether to call the coast guard or throw shark bait in the water.

Unable to pass up the obvious.....That this type of problem abounds when those that are doing the work use a form of technical execution such as life casting is no coincidence. Why, because lifecasting exempts the artist from having to win for themselves the hard lessons of how to make a figure by hand....

And you know I would rather see and appreciate a piece of crap or polished turd that someone honestly tried to "win" than the nicest silly putty figure in the world. In this respect I disagree with a whole slew of others in this thread who think the ends justify the means. To suppose that it is only the "result" that counts or has meaning and how you make something doesn't actually matter just doesn't add up and bodycasting is exactly why things like this do fail.

and all the editorial discernment that comes from learning that process. (That is not to say that life casting can't be augmented with good artistic judgement by someone who doesn't possess the traditional modeling skills....its just extremely rare.)

Well Okay, I might wake up and find the keys to a brand new Ferrari in my pocket too, but I won't stay up all night thinking about it.

Those who do a thing best usually have a deep constructive knowledge of how and why it works. Doubt this axiom? Try fixing a transmission with no previous experience. Is the body any less complex in all its possible permutations?

Now we're getting somewhere, we are creatures of habit and the more we practice something the better we get, sculptor, mechanic, nurse, shrink, cop, teacher, you name it.

A figure sculpture is more than arms, legs, ears, and eyes....on a basic level these are all forms that must make sense as they relate to each other spatially. Even if someone uses a lifecast to "create" the body, they must take the time to use the forms in an intelligent way....relate them to each other in a way that goes beyond the pedestrian. If compositionally a work is bankrupt there is little point in putting all the bells and whistles on it.
Jason, I am glad you are back and hope your trip was rewarding. I'm disappointed in this bronze and think the guy had something that looked good on paper (or in his head) and it just didn't perform in the end. It's not like he carved it out of marble and was stuck with a bad result or anything and he could have redone the pose or and made it better if he gave it more thought. That said and to be fair and look at it from another view, I think that most sculpture fails to achieve what it sets out to do originally and I think failure is the norm and success a rarity. It would be a shame to replace this work with something "better" because it's important to me to see what doesn't work as well as what does. If we didn't have failures we'd never be able to prize success. My guess is the surfers (like Fritchie semi-alluded to earlier) will come to accept this and make it a bit of a mascot in their mischievous way even though they consider it an abomination now. How can one ever actually hate a failure? Let he who can assure a better result stand up now. It won't be me, that would be self-aggrandizing and a sure way to miss the mark.

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