Monthly Archives: June 2016

Project: A modelled organic abstraction of the human form – Research

Henry Moore

Henry Moore is the most obvious sculptor to look at when investigating the organic abstraction of the human form, with the majority of his sculptures being of reclining figures.

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 18 July 2005.

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 18 July 2005.

P1020691

The surfaces of his sculptures are often smooth and many of my initial drawings in this part of the course are similar to his works in this way. The sculptures of his that I prefer though are those with more texture, like the two above.

Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth often used the human form for inspiration. Her early work was very figurative, but became more and more abstracted, with ‘The Family of Man’ coming a long way from the initial forms.

P1010701 P1010700

I really like this work, the basic forms, the holes through the pieces, and the textures of the surfaces, all of which work brilliantly in bronze.

Jean Arp

Jean Arp created sculptures which reflected natural forms, although he created the form without a finished product in mind and titles his work afterwards, so his work is more relevant to the second project in this stage.

Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg sometimes uses the human figure for inspiration. Personally, I find his wavy sculptures interesting, but the overall effect is too overwhelming and discordant for my taste.

By Ninadanilova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ninadanilova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

John Isherwood

His artist statement says that “he does not imitate the body” (Isherwood, 2016), but many of them do have an obvious human form or organic shape influence. He works in stone, carving the surface with sinuous lines or grids to add texture and emphasise the shape and form of the pieces. Whilst stone carving is not an avenue I am going to explore, I particularly like the surface textures he uses in his ‘Truth’ and ‘Aletheia’ sculptures. From his website it is also interesting to see how his drawings explore similar patterns and textures to his sculptures, an area I need to develop myself.

Peter Randall-Page

Peter Randall-Page creates large organic shaped masses out of stone, again using surface texture to provide interest and accentuate the form.

By Anders Sandberg from Oxford, UK (Chain of events) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Anders Sandberg from Oxford, UK (Chain of events) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

His ‘Beneath the skin’ sculpture (above) is very similar to my back sketch and could well have had the same influences.

SEED

In ‘Seed’ (above) and ‘Fruit of mythological trees’, he explores themes similar to some of the artists I follow – Geoff Rushton and Anna Whitehouse – taking inspiration from seed pods, or microscopic photographs of pollen. This is an avenue I hope to have chance to explore also at some point.

William Tucker

For William Tucker, the human figure plays a large part in the shape of his sculptures. Some are more figurative than others, many are abstracted into barely recognisable forms. I’m not a great fan of his work though, I think it is the uniformity of the surface texture and bronze patina which puts me off and makes them look more like amorphous lumps.

Bilbao-Tucker-11_340

By Kamahele (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Overall

Of the work I have looked through in researching this area, the only sculptures from the organic abstraction of the human form which hold much appeal to me are those by Barbara Hepworth (and they have gone a long way from the original). I like the use of abstract figures in sculpture, but have yet to find many more abstracted forms which appeal. There are elements I can take from the other artists though.

References

Isherwood, J. (2016). Statement | Jon Isherwood. [online] Jonisherwood.com. Available at: http://jonisherwood.com/statement/ [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016].

Randall-Page, P. (2016). Peter Randall-Page, british artist. [online] Peterrandall-page.com. Available at: http://www.peterrandall-page.com/ [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016].

Royalacademy.org.uk. (2016). William Tucker | Artist | Royal Academy of Arts. [online] Available at: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/artist/william-tucker-ra#gallery [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016].

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Assignment 2 – Tutor feedback

Jim started the assignment feedback by discussing the success of the two ‘box and sphere’ pieces made in the projects and how these could form the basis of a series of works. He also suggested looking at artists producing similar work as a comparison – e.g. David Smith using bronze and steel combined – I have added this to my reflection on this project.

The then went on to discuss my drawings, the better ones and the weaker ones. I plan to address this properly in the next stage.

We discussed the weaknesses of my wing piece, which I recognised once I’d made it. It has strengths in the use of surface texture, pattern and colour, but it doesn’t work as a whole.

Then we moved on to the success of the assignment piece and the imaginative use of a deconstructed chair, but he pointed out that the white base board doesn’t fit with the rest of the sculpture (it is very obvious that it shouldn’t be there) and it would be much stronger without it. The wires could be fixed directly into the floor. I couldn’t do this in practice, so manipulated the image to show how this would work:

Assignment2 3 Assignment2 3 Base Removed

This is so much better than the original. I need to concentrate on bases for my sculptures as this is not the first time I have ignored this to my peril. They can seem to just be a quick finishing touch to a sculpture, but they can make or break a piece. Something to watch out for going forwards.

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Project: A modelled organic abstraction of the human form – Initial drawings

I decided to plough straight into this project and produce some drawings before researching this field. For five life drawing sessions, I focussed on shapes which could be extracted from the figure and drew these.

Body lying down:

Body original Body sculpture

Upper body:

Upper body original Upper body sculpture

Leg:

Legs original Legs sculpture

Shoulder:

Shoulder 2 sculpture

Torso:

Torso original Torso sculpture

I really enjoyed doing these drawings and was pleased with the images I produced. They are similar to Henry Moore sculptures in many ways. However thinking it through, I realised that whilst I liked the drawings, I wasn’t sure I would like sculptures based on them. The key flaw for me is the smoothness of the surfaces, whereas I like to have some texture in my sculptures to provide more interest. So, how to add texture into these? Firstly, I needed to identify which drawing to take forwards. I narrowed it down to these two:

Torso sculpture Legs sculpture

The torso drawing already has texture added in the form of the cuts used to show the tattoos.

The legs sculpture drawing could have texture added to the recessed hole in the side, or on the knee area. I think this is the one I will take forwards. I think this sculpture would be easier to produce by carving it, but the course calls for modelling at this stage, so I will give it a go.

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