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  #1  
Old 05-02-2007, 03:22 PM
Helix Helix is offline
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Why figurative sculpture?

If you have not seen my thread regarding artist interviews that basic premise of this question is to gather information about professional artists outside of my college atmosphere. All input is greatly appreciated.

Basically, I am curious to know why an artist chooses figurative sculpture, specifically depictions of men and women.

Personally, I believe the human body is the greatest expression of nature. Does anyone adhere to this notion as well? While I place emphasis on the figure, I rarely ignore background and context. Atmosphere contributes greatly to how we perceive a figure. Does anyone else try to give their figures a context or background of sorts?

For me art is a learning experience. I choose to depict this way because I believe studying other people and trying to depict them is an equivalent to soul searching; much can be learned from others. I've studied quite a bit of history and it influences my art greatly in terms of subjects depicted. Would anyone mind sharing their influences in figurative sculpture as well?

All input is appreciated. Hopefully an interesting discussion can take place.
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2007, 10:13 PM
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StevenW StevenW is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Well, ask any golden retriever which he thinks is natures greatest expression, a naked ape or another golden retriever and he'll pick the doggy.
I'm with you in that I think humans are beautiful, particularly female ones. Where I differ is in thinking that the human mind is natures greatest expression and not the body. For me, replicating humans, particularly very realistic ones is like building a house in a tropical rain forest and filling it with indigenous plants. I'd rather have the house filled with ideas, however common or bizarre they may be and step outside from time to time to see what nature has already done well.
From a purely evolutionary standpoint, dinosaurs were far in advance biologically speaking than humans and thus a greater expression of nature. They had 3 toes built for a much more efficient bipedal locomotion instead of the more primitive 5 and didn't require forks or knives, they were built-in. Give me an odd shaped rock or piece of metal, which was created from scratch in the mind and I'll spend all day looking at it and the soul behind it. Show me a human figure, however well concieved and created and I'll likely study the stand it was placed on.
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2007, 10:47 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Why? You might call it a species-centric affliction we sculptors have always suffered from (don't care what you think you're up to, that figure's hidin' in there somewhere).

As one who produces figurative as well as abstract sculpture I differentiate the two only by their initial motivator. Abstract work is engaged usually to proudly present and stage some worthwhile piece of material (or a combination or duplicity of material). Figuration provides me with a narrative skeleton - to eventually shroud completely in layers, robes and pelts of toil and process.

For me the toil and process bring forth the art and comprise the subject of the art; not the represented element. Even in portaiture - say, a bust of Hermes (one I have done), the Hermes is the initiator of what will become yet another excuse to challenge the matter, another white-knuckle, wrist breaking, back wrenching test of wills between myself, a living breathing embodiment of awareness, and some thoughtless bulk that seems to fight back but in the end doesn't really give a damn what I do to it.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2007, 01:40 PM
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Alfred Alfred is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Figurative sculpture has always been an effective tool for communication of ideas. We see the human form every day from birth til the day we die. We relate to it and understand it's many subtleties. We can tell how others are feeling just by their body language. This is the root of why I have chosen to work as a figurative sculptor. I don't concern myself with anything other than what that particular figure is feeling. Time, space, location, ect. have nothing to do with the emotions of an individual. Have you ever felt so alone in a room filled with people? Or so happy that you didn't realize or care what was going on around you? There is a beauty to the introspectiveness of a person. Seeing them ponder some troubling past or reminising on a happy moment. When you see the moment of realization on a persons face, that is where the beauty and sublety of people comes into play. That is also my goal as a sculptor, that is to say, that I seek to capture the moment of realization. Succeeding in that, will make my sculpture relatable to anyone.

I hope this helps,

Alfred
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2007, 04:17 PM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

There are a great many reasons why I have chosen figurative sculpture as my primary focus. In the interest of my time and others reading this, I will sumarize rather than give the sculptor's sermon on the mount...

I love beauty, spirit, intelligence, harmony, and the wonders of God's creation.
I am also interested in how individual souls use the gift of life to experience the universe within and without. The human form is the chalice through which these energies and experiences occur.

It is an exciting process to model the human form and then reach the level of extreme subtlety where minute nuances of abstract form combine to give a transcendant expression to features. To communicate emotion and an inner fire that can speak through an inanimate object is a great alchemical experience. It is almost like breathing life into form. For these as well as other reasons do I sculpt the human figure.

GlennT
http://www.glennterryart.com
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  #6  
Old 05-04-2007, 04:31 PM
Helix Helix is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Those are some interesting thoughts. I think you all have a better grip on why you chose figurative sculpture than I. I think mine is still a little murky, but this has contributed some light to the subject. I suppose I just have always looked to depict humans in drawings and sculpture and have sought to continue this practice as my ability grew.

Does anyone think they will experiment with abstract sculpture? Has anyone?

I've met a few judges at art competitions who started out as abstract artists only to lean towards figurative art in their later years. however, they never seem to support one as greater than the other.
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2007, 04:42 PM
artisti artisti is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

I think Abstract art is essential and often start a figurative sculpture by working abstractly until a dynamic composition is created. Then whatever figure I pull out of the abstract will contain that strength and gesture
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  #8  
Old 05-04-2007, 04:45 PM
artisti artisti is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

I love figurative sculpture for the addition layer of meaning it can apply over the compositional elements.
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  #9  
Old 05-04-2007, 05:28 PM
frozenimage frozenimage is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Sorry to break the thread, but I seem to recall that Fort Bragg is located in North Carolina. Has the base moved since I attended the Special Warfare School?
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2007, 07:55 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

On the Fort Bragg question, Google says Mendocino, Northern California. Who was Bragg, anyway? Not to stay off topic too long...
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2007, 09:59 PM
Helix Helix is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Those are some interesting thoughts. I think you all have a better grip on why you chose figurative sculpture than I. I think mine is still a little murky, but this has contributed some light to the subject. I suppose I just have always looked to depict humans in drawings and sculpture and have sought to continue this practice as my ability grew.

Does anyone think they will experiment with abstract sculpture? Has anyone?

I've met a few judges at art competitions who started out as abstract artists only to lean towards figurative art in their later years. however, they never seem to support one as greater than the other.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2007, 11:49 PM
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dondougan dondougan is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Helix

Figurative or abstract is all the same. Of course it isn't the same, but it's close enough that I can say it is.

If that sounds cryptic, think about your life. You have family, friends, folks you know. You can picture their faces. You also have things in your life that are not as easily shared with others the way you liked to play with blocks when you were little, the fact you liked to play the Indian instead of the Cowboy, the cigarbox full of treasures that were special to you, the feel of the grassy hummocks under your head on a sunny afternoon, the taste of the dirt you ate when you were five, climbing a sycamore tree in a pirate's hat when you were seven. How do you really share those with anyone else in a figurative manner?

Not that you couldn't try. But my point is that they all refer to the figure, but only some of them are about the figure as such. But they are all about you. Abstract is rarely abstract to the abstractor, just to everyone else.

It's only a question of how far you are willing to go in delving into things that are not easy to picture . . . how much you are willing to explain.

Brancusi said the figure was just meat (or I interpret what he said as translating roughly to that, anyway). Meat is good (vegan I am NOT), but it isn't the only thing I live upon. Brusssel sprouts are good too. And so are morels and truffles (can't leave out a major phyllum from my metaphor!).

I do work that many would consider abstract, but I also do stuff that is pretty much representational too. To me it is pretty-much all the same (it is simply what I perceive) except in the choice of words used to describe it.

Don

www.dondougan.com
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  #13  
Old 05-06-2007, 09:07 AM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Great post Don, there are powerfully worthwhile sensations that might suffer a disservice being stuffed into a figurative embodiment, while other subjects ask for the story or the twinkle in the eye of a rendered character.
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  #14  
Old 05-06-2007, 06:04 PM
cmustard cmustard is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

It's all about form...signifiacant form. At least for me it is....figurative is abstract and visa versa. Otherwise your making documentation.
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2007, 12:16 AM
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underfoot underfoot is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

"The figure is the single most expressive image available to an artist"
quote: Norman Lindsay (Australian painter,sculptor,author,playwright, etc)
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  #16  
Old 05-24-2007, 08:59 PM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Why figurative sculpture?

Nothing visual can fire up the brain as much as a recognizably human image -- especially an image of the face. (isn't that what cognitive science has discovered ?)

So many questions are immediately raised.

Do they like me ? Do I like them them? Are they dangerous ? Are they sexy ? Are they better than me ? What will they be doing next ? Who do they think I am ? (yes -- I think we feel that the sculpture is looking back and wondering about us -- and hence the importance of figure sculpture in liturgical settings)

Non-figurative sculpture can be quite delicious and beautiful -- but other than that frequent annoying question of "why would anyone want to look at this eyesore ?" -- or --- "why is this called art ?" --- it's relatively quiet.
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