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Old 03-10-2004, 10:49 PM
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sculptor sculptor is offline
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Location: IOWA
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Tiptoeing timorously toward the figurative.

Tiptoeing timorously toward the figurative.

It seems that I rarely heard back from sculpture competitions wherein the selected pieces were put on public display in urban settings for extended periods.

Suddenly, the mermaid seems to be in demand (oh darn and I had stupidly ruined the latex mold by using an oil based wax as a release agent)
In conversations with the committee folks, they are saying things like-----"We had one other figurative piece 2 years ago"(though I had thought the piece rather nondescript), or "This is our first figurative piece". Baby steps-----successive approximations toward a goal. OK so she has breasts covered with hair, and no crotch-so she's almost a draped or clothed figurative-----but at least they are nibbling. ----maybe, one day..-When I'm sculpting, I never think of them as "nudes" just as muscled bodies in suspended motion.

She is on display in Cedar Rapids, and now requested in Moline----(9 weeks before she is due to come down in C.R.)
'tain't much but both venues offer a stipend---and She does get to be mounted on a downtown street and share her beauty with some strangers.
Kinda nice----
Last time I was in C.R., some suited business types were pointing and hollering at their friends and me and Isis on the truck----as I rolled down the window one was hollering "HEY THAT"S THE GUY WHO DID THE MERMAID". ---- They thumbs upped me and shouted a compliment or 2. So I guess they like seeing her.

So, I've been rebuilding the latex portion of the mold with hardware store latex caulk, shaping it with carved spatulas, rubber clay tools, and ground putty knives-----just like working the clay, but I'm struggling to think insideout and swapping positive for negative. Maybe this was easier when I was younger. C'EST le vie.

So the process seems to've worked and I got the exhaust fan on high trying to evacuate the fumes from the shellac and now the pva and it's 30 degrees outside. Pace, read a bit, pace, touch the mold to test the cure, wash my hand, pace, read a bit, write this,

She'll be ready in 3 weeks, and mounted April 10----(I hope)

OOPS back to my main thread-----does anyone else perceive this "Tiptoeing timorously toward the figurative." trend or am I suffering from an inductive reasoning delusion?

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Old 03-11-2004, 02:07 AM
ALH ALH is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 85
Re: Tiptoeing timorously toward the figurative.

I see the dominance of figurative sculpture over other forms, or vice versa, as a regional situation. To give an example from here in the sticks: Calgary shows much more interest towards the figure than Edmonton does (these are the two main cities in my province). This is a general observation, obviously, but I'm pretty confident making it.

Calgary is perceived to be very 'American' in many ways (a look at its growth from the early years will give you a good idea as to why this is). Looking south, and here I'm on less solid ground, I see a much much greater emphasis on the figure in art (you will find comparatively few representations of the hero in public art of the last 50 years up here) .

Edmonton had a visit from Clem Greenburg many years ago and this may explain why the figure is so discredited in Edmonton further north in addition to the distance from the national boarder. Ill be surprised if institutions didnt a large effect on regional tastes as well.

I would expect to see regional differences in most countries. If there is a trend, one way or the other, I'm not wise enough to sense it. All I hope for is diversity and a hands off approach to directing the direction of the arts.

Im interested to hear what others perceive in their neck of the woods.
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Old 03-11-2004, 09:01 AM
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JAZ JAZ is offline
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Location: Massachsetts
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Re: Tiptoeing timorously toward the figurative.

I live 45 miles north of Boston. This area is pretty conservative re: contemporary art, and so people feel more comfortable with figurative works, though things are slowly broadening. The MFA, which is far behind other major US cities in their openness to non-figurative sculpture has recently tried to make amends. If you drove by today, outside you'd see the bronze of the Indian chief on horseback (I wish I knew the title, sorry), which has been there for a long, long time; a giant DeKooning bronze abstract that looks like it's made of clay, an Anthony Caro stacked steel slabs piece, a highly painted and shiny figure of a guy walking across a pole that crosses over the driveway by the famous guy whose name escapes me (Brodsky?) and a Chinese scholar rock. Therefore, a something for everyone blend.
Here in my smaller neck of the woods, for the past six years a bunch of artists has organized a good show of site specific outdoor sculptures at a local state park. Everyone loves it and you never know what you'll get. The figurative sculputre downstairs from my sutdio used to put in figurative things, but lately she has been doing installations with sometimes a reference to something realistic. Soem others are abstract or installations that relate to concrete ideas, therefore figurative only in the sense that the concepts are graspable in a sort of obvious way. And there is a new little sculpture park in Newburyport where one of three there now is sort of figurative.
There are other regions that I would guess lean more toward figurative or abstract. For instance, San Francisco is much more innovative in their tastes than Boston. I saw Sarah Sze's work there first, in Boston later, e.g.
I think also, that the preferences are more era related than regional.
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