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  #101  
Old 08-31-2006, 12:38 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Very witty.
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  #102  
Old 08-31-2006, 10:21 PM
Gabrielle Gabrielle is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Is bodycasting really art?

After reading most of the responses to this question.... I'm blown away.

Add me to the "view my work" www.arttao.com/Gabrielle.html - section and if there is any breath left in anybody to comment further then blast away. Anything that could be said has been said.

Love what I do and love the visual literacy in the outcome.
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  #103  
Old 09-01-2006, 07:45 AM
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Scout Scout is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Gabrielle, I've seen your work before and I love it. It must have been on this forum. I love to do parts of things. You are amazing...keep it going. Momentum is 99% of it. You are on a roll! Scout
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  #104  
Old 09-02-2006, 03:01 AM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Gabrielle,

My feelings/thoughts about figurative work not modeled by hand aside, I enjoy the artistry of your technique....the 'Pollock"-like spattering, the randomness of the metal drips/dabs adds character to the lifecastings.
The partial form has been an interesting genre in figurative art it seems particularly the last few years and to some degree this treatment helps to offset the usual static quality in such castings. It is an intelligent endrun around a problem I think is central to all bodycasts.

In some ways it reminds me of another sculptor's partial figures....Richard Becker, a member of this community..though he models his. You both have a looseness of technique that gives greater dynamic surface tension. I've included a pic of his work below.

Have you also done any of these from a form you modeled by hand I wonder. The difference would be interesting to see. Perhaps done with a compositional effect not easily accomplished by a living model. The opportunity for really engaging the positive/negative space with your approach could be exploited to great effect.

In your bio you sculpted portraits at an earlier stage in your career....is there a link to any of them or could you post some pics?
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Last edited by JasonGillespie : 09-02-2006 at 03:48 AM.
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  #105  
Old 09-02-2006, 01:52 PM
Thatch Thatch is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabrielle
Love what I do and love the visual literacy in the outcome.
If you create for yourself and others like your work, what else needs to be said?

Thatch
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  #106  
Old 09-18-2006, 09:34 PM
Gabrielle Gabrielle is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

I haven’t checked the forum for a while, but I see I have a response from some of you.
Pouring bronze in this form is an incredible rush and the end result depends so much on the "splash".
The next phase of this is combining other metals of different color. Since the bronze doesn't really melt but rather loops in and around to create the whole...the different melting points aren’t' an issue.
After that it's the inclusion of glass.... it goes on and on. I have not had any negative response with creating these images from live figures. To me, it adds a very private and personal touch. This originally was experimental and the casts were available. Hence the series. Sculptural works in clay are in progress. I doubt there will be a huge noticeable difference between the two, simply because of the application of the bronze. I will definitely pass it on when completed.
If any one knows a glass artist (I’m in the GTA) who has a large slumping kiln…. I would love to work with them.
Thank you for your encouraging words.
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  #107  
Old 09-20-2006, 08:30 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

hi all here is a casting i did of myself part of my facse moulded with silicon and coldcast in browns powder and resin to get the bronze to show up it had to be scrabed with steelwool to remove the top layer of resion then holding it in my hand casted with alganate , casted in acrilec resion the sprade it gold the resalted is............
two cast then became one 3d art ? that is left to the beholder !!!!
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  #108  
Old 12-21-2006, 01:14 PM
Gabrielle Gabrielle is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

I thought it may interest some of you to see the results of new work with the open sand cast method. Faces are incredible to cast this way. www.ghbronze.com
"Jason" was chosen to be in ARTmagazine next March.
Wishing all Happy Holidays.
Gabrielle
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  #109  
Old 01-05-2007, 03:22 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Gabrielle,

I looked at your site again..specifically at the "Jason" piece and do think that you have a nice technique working for you, but still I would like to see your modeled work rather than the life-cast ones. I would again request some pics of the work mentioned in your Bio....the LaMotta, Norton, etc.. Also, feel free to answer any of the unanswered questions in my earlier post. Best of luck.
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  #110  
Old 01-09-2007, 07:33 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

hi all please go take a look at this lifecasted web page's www.philiphitchcock.com and you will see that lifecasting is a art form like i said before !! or what do you think????? and this web pages www.louisxvimannequins.com that is done with silicon and is allmost life like that takes some dowing.
anton
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  #111  
Old 02-09-2007, 02:38 AM
spiderfab spiderfab is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Was Andy Warhol an artist? That picture of tomato soup cans looked like the color copier was out toner. If a person uses an air driven chisel instead of a mallet and chisel can he still call himself a stone mason.

I watched a show on PBS about the Shaker village and the man who ran the wood shop. When the tours came into the shop he made Shaker furniture the way the Shakers had with the tools they had in their time. When the tours left he went to another room with modern power tools and made Shaker furniture with them. When ask if this was in keeping with the nature of the village. He replied that it was a Shaker lady who came up with the idea for the circular saw blade and the Shakers looked for the best way to do what needed to be done.

Andy Warhol used modern tools and techniques to make products we see as art. On that I’ll ask this question. Should the words “commercial” and “art” ever be use together?

Three hundred years ago art was all about the skill because most people were to busy just trying to live to master such things. Today art, for most people, is about the idea or emotion that is trying to be conveyed.

Just my thoughts I’ll put my hood down and strike an arc on another steel gate.

Ted
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  #112  
Old 02-09-2007, 07:11 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

its just another way of arriving at a human figure to eventually serve ones artistic purpose. Usually the exaggerations and misproportions that come about by modeling give the sculpture life, but sometimes its just wrong. Some artists choose not to bother with that stuff on their way to figuration. Maybe their work does not afford misproportions. I wonder if their was a time when some stone -cutting purist doubted the validity of the little innovater down the road getting things done twice as fast with his balls of clay and then handing the whole thing off to someone else to bring it to fruition?
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  #113  
Old 02-09-2007, 10:21 AM
Tlouis Tlouis is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

NO!NO!NO!
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  #114  
Old 02-10-2007, 10:31 AM
Arnis Arnis is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Lets put this more specific .Is the body casting sculpture.My experience shows that it is harder to make a sculpture out of body cast instead to modeling it.You can make workable plaster molds of course and carve them.But fundamental the body cast is a shadow of the reality and needs some rework.It is not the reality itself ,like a photo pic.It is two way process .Modeling and genesis of the shape or .You already have shape and you have to make analysis and go back.Of course in the Art you can use the body casting for some ideas and purpose .It ease the long process but you should exactly know what you doing.The body cast is NOT an art itself. Have nice day Arnis
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  #115  
Old 02-10-2007, 12:30 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Anton,

I looked at Mr. Hitchcock's website and would have to offer my opinion that whether he was using bodycasts or not, I wouldn't consider his work or ideas art. Obviously he is making extensive use of that technique as an artsy gimmick and this makes him a prime example of how anyone can pick up this fabrication technique and start "making art". He is someone who isn't an artist, but is using a not too difficult to learn method to crank out his "sculpture" in a particularly faddish way. I am posting some examples from his "classical" section for all to enjoy below.




Quote:
I wonder if their was a time when some stone -cutting purist doubted the validity of the little innovater down the road getting things done twice as fast with his balls of clay and then handing the whole thing off to someone else to bring it to fruition?
evaldart,

This isn't the same thing.
A master carver pointing a stone sculpture from a pre-existing work that was modeled by hand by the artist is matter of reproduction only. Also, pointing from an artist's modeled work has been around since antiquity...as has life casting...but the former has been an accepted means of reproducing a pre-existing work of art in another medium since that time and the latter has up until this last century been frowned upon and rightly considered cheating.
Bodycasting being used by a person that calls themselves a "figurative sculptor" is much like a person who uses a ghost writer and then changes a few things before putting their name on it. It is a form of artistic plagiarism. Look at the pics of Phillip Hitchcock's "sculpture" below to see examples of my point.

Edit note - Mr. Hitchcock sent a email asking that his website images be removed from the forum posts. Of course, you can still go to his website to see images of his work. - Russ
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  #116  
Old 02-10-2007, 11:02 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

This Hitchcock work has nothing to do with hyper-realism, which is the area of body-casting that I am supporting. I have taught freshman business majors how to make a copy of their buddy's face and hang it on the frat house wall. Hyper- realist work needs to look like flesh...not stone or plaster or plated metal or anything else.
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  #117  
Old 02-13-2007, 01:55 PM
Ed McCormick Ed McCormick is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

See the Life Casting Artist Awards Here:
http://www.lifecasting.org/ali_awards/2006_winners.htm


“It’s just a life cast . . .” How many times have I heard that? In fact, how many times have I said it myself? I suspect that there is no other sculptural technique that creates so much ambivalence. Anyone who sculpts the old fashioned way may feel that lifecasting is somehow, well cheating. After all, anybody can make a reasonable likeness by just pulling a mold off of something or someone. Most artists may have even tried it somewhere along the line. The results were about as dead as a corpse. But remember, when the first practical form of photography was invented in the 1830’s, painters looked upon it with equal disdain. The main complaint was that photography was not selective. A photograph was only able to capture what was actually there and unable to add, delete or change the image; it was felt that there was no creativity, no skill involved. Yet photography, which is every bit as cheating as life casting, has gained acceptance as an art form. So what is different, so disagreeable about something that could be called three-dimensional photography? Before I answer that, let’s digress just a little, just a few thousand years.

Life casting has been around a very long time. The Roman historian, Pliny the Elder, relates in his Natural History how one Lysistratus of Sicyonia made a plaster mold of a face and cast the positive in wax. In Malvina Hoffman’s 1939 book, Sculpture Inside and Out, she claims, “Molds were made from living subjects even as far back as 1300 B.C.” She then gives detailed directions for casting masks from both living and dead subjects. It is hard to imagine that a contemporary book would describe the making of death masks as a normal procedure, something that a sculptor should know to make a living.

But until the invention of photography, a mask was the only way of capturing someone’s exact likeness and it survived as an accepted art form at least as late as 1939. Since most common mold material was plaster, which had obvious detrimental side effects, the subject usually had to be dead to endure the process. Who has not read of the death mask of Napoleon or Lincoln? But anyone who thinks that any living caster, including myself, is responsible for inventing the techniques need only see an 1887 painting by Edouard Danton entitled Moulding. It shows an artist and an assistant removing a mold from a model’s leg. It reminds me of my own studio. And if anyone thinks that he/she is discovering new territory, get a copy of Carl Dame’s Moulding and Casting subtitled Its Technique and Application for Moulage Workers, Sculptors, Artists, Physicians, Dentists, Criminologists, Craftsmen, Pattern Makers, Architectural Molders, etc., This book will make it clear that almost anything you can imagine has been done before. But while the steps of the procedure have changed little, the materials have improved.

Modern materials are an improvement in two ways. First of all, there is no reason ever to put plaster directly on the skin. While there are some fast setting rubbers available which have the advantage of making reusable molds, they have some disadvantages in both safety and cost. The most suitable material for general use is alginate, which is essentially powdered kelp. It is absolutely harmless to the skin, the detail is excellent, and its is relatively inexpensive. There are numerous brands available with different characteristics. I have tried every brand that I have come across and my favorite is Prosthetic Cream Alginate made by Teledyne Waterpik. The second improvement is in the materials for the final positive. Any plaster will work, of course, but the only thing worse in terms of durability would be cast paper. An improvement would be any of the cast “stones” or Portland cement or hydrocal or fiberglass resin, etc. One can even pour wax directly into an alginate mold for casting into bronze. By far the most suitable material that I have used is Forton MG.

The manufacturer describes it as “…combining alpha hemi hydrate gypsum cement with sophisticated polymer chemistry resulting in a permanent casting with remarkable variations in appearance. The basic matrix is three powders and a liquid to which you add chopped fiberglass for strength and various fillers for particular effects. For example, adding powdered limestone will give you a pure white marble appearance. Since the system is water soluble, it will accept water-soluble dyes and pigments. The most interesting effect results from adding metal powders. The final product can be polished and/or patinated as if it were hot cast metal and looks remarkably like the real thing. It is easy to work with, odor free, very durable and not hazardous.

My own involvement with life casting began when sculptor Thomas Schomberg mentioned to me that a life mask could be very helpful for anatomical reference. I have been sculpting since childhood and casting for almost ten years and am well aware of casting’s advantages and shortcomings; even I view it with some ambivalence. On one hand I feel that it is a technique with unique possibilities, a technique that every artist would do well to have at least a fundamental grasp of. Who could possibly see the work of John de Andrea and Duane Hanson and even think that it could not be accomplished without a great deal of training and practice? The most famous piece of art in Denver is certainly de Andrea’s Linda at the Denver Art Museum. After all great art is not just great realism nor great abstraction nor great workmanship. It is great emotion.

So where, on the other hand is the cheating? I would guess that most sculptors suspect that anyone whose primary work is casting probably can’t sculpt and isn’t willing to make the effort to learn how. I agree. I am always quick to point out that my primary work is my sculpture not my castings. I admit that I don’t want anyone to think casting is all I do because anyone can do it. I explain it this way. After one of my two or three day workshops and some practice, it isn’t long before anyone should be able to make acceptable castings. In a couple of days I could explain everything needed for one to sculpt. But sculpting takes years of practice. It is analogous to photography versus drawing or painting.

But the question still remains about casting from life, why would anyone who is any sort or real sculptor ever want to try it? For reference. Don’t most of us photograph our models in a particular pose so as to have something to refer to when the model isn’t present? Well, why not do the same thing in three dimensions? One of the preparatory steps I take when I begin a new sculpture is to cast at least the model’s face and hands in the desired position. It is their very realness, their exactness that makes them so useful. In some ways, they are superior to the actual model. I can refer to them at any time and for as long as I need to. They can be turned in my hands and studied from all angles. I can even store them indefinitely and refer back to them if I enlarge the piece at a future date. The second use is to make the casting an end in itself. Most people would treasure a bust of a loved one. But sculpting an accurate portrait takes time—enough time that the final product can require a significant financial investment. But I can cast a face including the neck and ears (in other words all of what is needed for recognition) and remain within most peoples budget.

The actual impression takes about fifteen minutes and the preparation and explanation require that the person be in my studio for only about an hour to and hour and a half. The process is reasonably pleasant but just involved enough that the subject usually departs with a feeling of accomplishment for having “suffered for art” and been a partner in the creation of something. Unfortunately, the mask is not finished in an hour and a half. It takes me about eight man-hours of work over a week’s time before it’s completed. One of the things that I do is to make a secondary mold in silicone rubber, partly because it improves the final product and partly because it allows for additional copies. It is not just the affordability that makes a mask so desirable; it is the realness. I had people tell me that they commissioned a bust of their child only to admit that they were disappointed with the results because it really didn’t look like their child. Obviously, they chose the wrong sculptor. Portrait sculpting is not easy; you cannot be very far off and have it actually look like the subject.

I like to say that around my studio, “parts is parts.” And of course, I have cast the entire human body either as a whole or in pieces. The face is the most important since we are recognized by our faces. The other parts that I most commonly cast are hands and feet of infants, clasping hands of couples, and torsos.

In order of difficulty, hands are the least difficult, followed by torsos, with faces being the most difficult part of the body to cast. Not only are faces very involved structures, but also covering the face can induce claustrophobia, not to mention suffocation. I have not explained here step by step how to do a casting because it would be beyond the scope of this article. It is complicated enough and with just sufficient risk to the subject that it probably shouldn’t be attempted at home without some instructions. I have developed some dummy heads so that one can practice prior to spreading goo on a living person.

I have been casting long enough that I do not ask whether life casting is fine art or cheating. To me it is just another art form, a different art form with its own limitations and advantages. But if great art causes great emotion, nothing is more satisfying to an artist then to arouse this emotion in even on person. I am often amazed at the reaction of parents to their children’s castings. I have seen a mother cry over a hand, a face, or a body saying that she will always have her child at that age. The two things that are the essence of castings are realism and permanence. A photograph is real but will last only perhaps a hundred years. A video is real but may last only a generation. But a casting can capture a moment in time forever. A casting may survive until the sun goes supernova.

David Parvin
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  #118  
Old 02-13-2007, 07:37 PM
cooljamesx1 cooljamesx1 is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

the way I see it, life casting is a hinderence more than an advantage. take the analogy of painters projecting a photograph to paint from. they can only paint things there are pictures of. more than that, they can only paint things that exist. the same applies to sculpture. Vasari's description of Michelangelo's Pieta in st. peter's basilica reads something like "it is a miracle that a formless block of stone should be shaped to a perfection that nature herself is scarcely able to create in flesh.". well if nature can't create it, it can't be cast. and if the exact face you want exists, good luck finding it. If you just cast people, they will never look exactly how you imagined the sculpture in the first place. more important than realism is realizing your vision as accurately as possibe.
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  #119  
Old 02-14-2007, 11:30 AM
Tlouis Tlouis is offline
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Thumbs down Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Lifecasting is a cowardly way of working. If you haven't the GUTS, the intellectual and emotional wherewithal to create sculpture from scratch, give it up. Stop infecting the world with this garbage.

When Rodin's "Age of Bronze" was first exhibited he was accused of the shameful practice of surmoulage. Nothing worse could have been said about a sculptor. And he fought hard to disprove that charge.

Nowadays, in the era of no standards and anything goes, more and more so-called artists are resorting to this despicable practice and have the balls to call it sculpture/art.

Lou
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  #120  
Old 02-14-2007, 04:56 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

David,

Thanks for your post. As one for the "pro" side of this discussion, it was well thought out. The Egyptians used life casts as sculpture reference as well as the later Greeks. (I ran across an interesting example of this recently.)

Your link to the Awards page was interesting as well. Apparently some out there deem body/life casting to be worthy of special attention. Though the work shown there did not change my opinion...probably reinforcing it if anything....I did think that your particular work was successful in removing itself from the pitfall of being mistaken for a modeled form. Not being focused on mimesis, your work has the opportunity to be judged apart from usual figurative standards. (I also looked at yours and others work at life-casting.com.)

I did, however, take note of one particular piece that seemed to exemplify (this since Phillp Hitchcock's work has already been used) the faulty foundation upon which most life cast work is built.

Allow me a moment's digression on that "faulty foundation". Body/life casting doesn't create sculpture/art....it is a process. As a process...it has no inherent artistic qualities. Making a cast of a person's body can not create art any more than just putting eggs in a skillet will make an omelet. And...despite remarks to the contrary...most I have seen do not work the cast much after making it...other than to clean up the details. (I say most..not all) They allow the "process" to do the bulk of the work..not some meaningful art ability. They put the eggs in the skillet hoping an omelet will emerge. It almost always doesn't.
Now, this is not a random generalization of ignorance on my part. In the time since I started this thread I have done quite a lot of studying of the various "life casters" working and have seen very little in the way of artistic addition to what comes from the process. (Gabrielle's work I would consider a notable exception)
Now, by "addition" I mean a real contribution to the form...the sculptural idea....the "meat" of any sculpture. Usually the contributions I have seen are superficial in nature and don't go far beyond what was delivered by the life cast itself. I'm talking about a real artistic addition/contribution...not just a patina, polychrome, lifeless drapery or the typical truncation of form that is seen so much...but a truly creative amendment that gives the cast an artistic quality it inherently didn't have to begin with.

Back to the work I couldn't help but notice as a shining example of this lack. It was Roy Butler's shameless use of the life casting technique to imitate 19th century memorial sculpture. It is a slap in the face of such masters of the form like Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French, and others who by skill and the applied effort of years of study/practice created true works of art. The irony was that his award was Most Meaningful Use of Art Form. The intended use was certainly meaningful, but in my opinion, the actual work as executed brings no artistic quality to that use. It is a fairly bald fabrication meant to be taken as an artistic rendition....to me it cheapens the memory of the courageous Americans who fought and died in that bloody period of our history rather than imbues it with meaning.

I post some images below..the standing soldier of Butler's life cast and some of Saint-Gaudens Shaw memorial. Which captures the power and sad eloquence of African-American soldiers during the Civil War? Is there really a question?
What's more, Saint-Gaudens sculpted these figures in relief and so they are compressed to fit the space. They still look convincingly full-volumed from the viewpoint of the spectator though. This is far more difficult than just modeling the figures...it really takes a mastery of form that most today just don't have to condense forms and warp them them without losing the integrity of their truthfulness. Saint-Gaudens did all this without a short cut "process"....instead relying upon the refinement of his hand and eye to bring these heroes to life. And Butler's contribution to this great artform.....it looks like what it is..a model dressed up in a poorly made replica uniform in a pose that shows absolutely no thought towards composition....very sad that someone settled for such a poor memorial.


Once again, it is another example of why life casting is nothing more than a "bell and whistle". One of my undergraduate professors wisely observed that art isn't made by merely using techniques, "bells and whistles" as he called them, it is the application of skill and knowledge that result in a superior work of art...a superior work regardless of whatever technical veneer that may be put over it . Over the years in my contact with numerous works of art....what I have seen and experienced has been borne out. I've sat in front of a number of De Andrea's casts of real people and felt nothing, and then stood in front of the Burghers of Calais or the John the Baptist by Rodin and been moved by one man's use of clay to create his own understanding of life.

It is why poetry can say with a few words what an entire book can't. The artistic distillation of memory, emotion, and symbol is greater than reality..it is what elevates man beyond the mere impression of his physical self. This is why there are those who are creators and those who aren't...why some efforts fall short and others exist for millennia in our minds and hearts.

Now, some may (and in the past have) reacted as if these sorts of remarks are an attempt at exclusivity or elitism, but that only works if you hold to the notion that art shouldn't have any standards. Be sure these same people won't be nearly so blase when it comes to the degree of training/skill their general practitioner, plumber, electrician, accountant, financial advisor, or mechanic should have. No "anything goes" there. They want their money's worth and then some. An illogical and paradoxical world view, but rampant nonetheless. And as of yet...one that hasn't been explained beyond its own circular reasoning.

Edit note - Mr. Butler asks that his website images be removed from the forum posts. - Russ
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Last edited by RuBert : 05-03-2007 at 03:30 PM.
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  #121  
Old 02-14-2007, 07:21 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Here are some more images of Saint-Gaudens Shaw Memorial. The second one shows some studies of individual soldiers and the third shows an extreme angle of the memorial and really gives an idea of how masterfully Saint-Gaudens used the space to convey great depth.
It amazes me that people are so easily satisfied with works like Butler's that are a pastiche of real sculpture when there are examples like the Shaw Memorial which testify to what a sculptor can do when driven by vision and skill. (in his defense I think Butler and those like him have been led down this path by a much larger artistic philosophy that has undercut the educational process in this country...in regard to so called "traditional" art.)


Ah, well.

Edit note - Mr. Butler asks that his website images be removed from the forum posts. - Russ
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:14 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

In the biggest of pictures the artist will eventually retract his achieved abilities, placing far greater importance on the lessons learned through some failures that beget epiphanies, some successes that yielded disillusion and some misteps that reminded him of his bewilderment. All this after a thousand pieces have been made and ten thousand not made. A rigid pursuit of a craft or an single minded obsession with a tradition will only leave him unaccomplished in the end. He must think of ALL the art he can make in his life, not just some of it.
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:50 PM
BobClyatt BobClyatt is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Gabrielle's innovation imho is in her method of casting. It is incredible and creates something we've never seen, cool illusions of flight and dream, and a sense that there will always be a new way to work with old materials. (and no doubt much more which we would each experience in the presence of her work). Whether the cast she is dripping these metals into is made from a bodycast or a hand-modeled piece seems immaterial.

Creating art for me is about wanting to communicate experiences of feeling, emotion, idea and doing it in a fresh or effective way. Talent and skill help a lot here, but don't make it art. (With a nod of acknowledgment to the notion that if a person makes anything while feeling it is art, then it is art -- I get that but it doesn't seem a very useful definition in these debates here.)

In some ways, modelling the figure the old fashioned way has more to do with craft than art. (I know, heresy here! and I do all my modeling the old fashioned way so I am talking about myself, too.) We learn all the anatomy, how to build armatures, a few 'approved' methods for laying down clay, the peculiarities of the clay, how to make an iris look like a real eye without the eyelashes etc etc. All craft, really.

Art is about creating and communicating Idea. Bodycasting can be a dandy way to do that, in the hands of an artist. Modelling the figure by hand can be just as un-art-like as bodycasting in the hands of someone without anything to say.
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:43 AM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Quote:
Modelling the figure by hand can be just as un-art-like as bodycasting in the hands of someone without anything to say.

This is very true. I would never espouse modeling by hand just because. I have seen a lot of really uninspired hand modeled figurative work..especially in recent years. Much of it due to the same misunderstanding that gives life/body casting credibility. Sculptors mistakenly thinking all they have to do is copy the body verbatim and everything will be right. That doesn't always mean you have art either.



Quote:
Art is about creating and communicating Idea. Bodycasting can be a dandy way to do that, in the hands of an artist.
The problem is this happens very seldom. Body/life casting is by and large a means by which many who wouldn't otherwise are able to pursue a figurative sculpting career. If I'm wrong then show me the great numbers of accomplished figurative sculptors who have chosen to use body/life casting in place of their modeling ability. Heck, just tell me some life casting sculptors who have turned their casts into good sculpture. Hansen and De Andrea are excluded....Segal and Gormley too. They've already been mentioned and I'll even consent that they could, for the sake of argument, be considered "good" examples of the form.



Quote:
Whether the cast she is dripping these metals into is made from a bodycast or a hand-modeled piece seems immaterial.
The way in which she casts the work is only a facet of what sculpture is. I grant she has a nice point of sales in using the metal in that way, but it doesn't enhance the form or the true sculptural aspects of her work. It is a nice treatment and looks quite fetching, but it is closer to painting than it is to sculpture.
Sculpture is form and the way positive/negative space interacts....and if you think it being hand modeled or bodycast doesn't make a difference then you are missing a big part of sculpture. If all you want is a fluid and ephemeral technique...look to painting. Sculpture is meant to occupy space and create its own reality within that space...not just look pretty because of surface technique. To create form you have to understand how it works and what makes it do the things it does. Merely taking a cast from a form gives none of this knowledge. The form must be made, manipulated, subdued and then eventually it will give up its secrets. Form is the back, the front, the sides, and the inside as well...not just one view.

Part of the problem is that too many figurative sculptors today work with a painter's mindset. Form has given way to illusionary techniques and fancy patinas that do little to mask the fact that there is something important missing. And don't think when I say "form" I am talking about making something look like an eye or a nose or an arm either. That is just anatomical imitation and the lowest rung on the figurative ladder. Whether or not you have a proficiency in copying from life isn't the most primary concern in creating figurative sculpture or good sculptural form.
The body must become something that doesn't really exist...it must become an architectonic idea...turned into a three-dimensional form that conveys thought, emotion, and life. Even in the nearly abstracted figures of an artist like Henry Moore...the idea of form is being wrestled down and made into a meaningful object that owns the space it is in. He wasn't the world's best at relating the realistic aspects of the figure, (that wasn't his interest either) but he understood its construction and that form must be first and foremost or the work will suffer.

Body/life casts will never give the artist this architectonic form...they can't...they can only give an unresolved cast of the unedited volumes of the body. These volumes merely represent the raw material for a figurative sculptor...material that must be then turned into coherent form.
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:24 AM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

There has been a lot of great discussion on this thread. Thanks!

My idea about art has much to do with what the artist has within them and what they put into the work. If an object is placed on a copy machine and a copy is made, I would not call that copy "art". But it is possible for an artist to take that copy and make something else from it that could be called "art".

I believe it to be the same regarding bodycasting. I personally do not like the idea of it, and would echo most of what Jason gillespie said as to my reasons why. But I do think that works of art can be made from work that has begun in that way as a starting point, but then infused with the eye and experience of an artist to make something else out of it. In other words, if the bodycast is seen as a raw material from which something else of merit evolves, then it is possible to warrant the term " art" .

It was just as important to acknowledge that all figurative work done in the traditional manner is not art either. One can create sculpture, and one can create art. Art to me has a higher standard and is reached by an artist, not a copyist. An artist uses their heart and genius to interpret and express something beyond the form.

GlennT
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